Canberra, Australia – The Australian Government has released the Inquiry into National Freight and Supply Chain Priorities Report and commenced discussions with State Governments on priority actions.
54 priority actions have been identified by the independent Expert Panel, which undertook the inquiry in consultation with industry.
The actions will inform the development of a National Freight and Supply Chain Strategy through the Council of Australian Governments Transport and Infrastructure Council to ensure our freight transport system meet the needs of a growing Australia.
Deputy Prime Minister and Michael McCormack said the report paves the way for the development of a strategy which improves the competitiveness of Australian businesses and delivers for consumers by making it faster, easier, and less expensive to move goods.
“We know the national freight task will almost double over the next 20 years, which presents a challenge and opportunity to work with industry to maximise the benefit from the sector which already contributes around 10 per cent of our productivity,” Mr McCormack said.
“I thank the Panel for its report, which provides a platform for Government to look at opportunities to drive efficient and sustainable freight logistics while balancing the freight needs of a growing economy and ensuring the sector and the community share the benefits too.”
Mr McCormack said the Liberal and Nationals’ 2018–19 Budget included major steps to ensure freight productivity, including the establishment of a dedicated National Freight and Supply Chain Strategy Unit.
“The Budget delivered a real focus on freight, including our new $3.5 billion Roads of Strategic Importance initiative and a targeted AUS$1 billion Urban Congestion Fund which will address pinch points and last-mile access to ports, airports and freight hubs,” Mr McCormack said.
“There were also commitments of AUS$400 million for the Port Botany Rail Line Duplication and $971 million for the Coffs Harbour Bypass, which are strategic investments to improve the productivity, efficiency and safety of the freight industry.
“These commitments—along with our existing investments such as the Melbourne to Brisbane Inland Rail, Bruce and Pacific Highway upgrades and the Toowoomba Second Range Crossing—will ensure our freight system serves the nation for decades to come.
“From farmers to small businesses and consumers, everyone has an interest in the ongoing success of our freight and logistics industry. It is fundamental to our national prosperity.
“Freight systems and infrastructure have to work together across State and Territory borders so goods can be delivered efficiently to urban and regional areas across Australia, and the Liberal and Nationals Government is committing resources to make sure this happens.
“I am looking forward to partnering with all levels of Government, industry, and the broader community on delivering the Strategy to ensure we meet the freight needs of the future.”
The Independent Expert Panel developed the report with significant industry input, including drawing on 127 submissions and one-on-one meetings with more than 200 individuals from 28 peak industry bodies and 90 businesses. It concluded strong support exists within industry for an overarching national strategy.