Freight Rail

Better government planning for freight supply chains needed, ALC says


Government planning and policy must ensure the creation and preservation of efficient and safe supply chains, according to the submission made by The Australian Logistics Council (ALC) to the federal House of Representatives inquiry into the government’s role in the development of cities.

Michael Kilgariff, the ALC’s managing director, said that government development planning policy had to give adequate attention to the way freight moves through cities, and the challenges that the industry currently faces.

“The essential items most Australians take for granted – our food, household appliances, clothing, medications and cares, to name just a handful – are generally not grown or manufactured close to the cities where most of us live,” Mr Kilgariff said.

The submission made by the ALC outlines several challenges the freight industry has been encountering in recent years, including urban encroachment, the lack of freight corridor protection, the congestion of supply chains in freight delivery to CBD areas, the overlap of passenger and freight infrastructure, and the insufficient integration of new and existing transport infrastructure.

“While urban renewal has become a policy priority for state and local governments, the reality is land-use changes, made to allow further residential and commercial developments, are increasingly impinging on the efficiency of Australia’s supply chains,” Kilgariff said.

The ALC submission states that “truly safe and efficient” supply chains must be allowed to operate “round-the-clock”, enabling freight movement to occur at all times and allowing freight operators to take advantage of the dip in traffic during off-peak times.

Regarding corridor protection, Kilgariff pointed to an example presented by recent Infrastructure Australia study which found that “$66 million could be saved when a future freight rail line is constructed to the Port of Brisbane” if adequate corridor protection is put in place.

With reference to the Inland Rail project, the ALC submission emphasises the desirability of the separation of freight and transport infrastructure, which brings with it benefits of travel time saving, increased efficiency and increased safety. The ALC says it would support further projects that aim in this direction.

“ALC encourages the Australian Government to support shovel-ready or proposed infrastructure, through funding or corridor protection, that seeks to separate freight and passenger vehicles,” the submission states.

The submission also stresses the need for the links to the Port of Melbourne and the Port of Brisbane to be part of the Inland Rail project, to ensure the realisation of its full economic benefits.

The recommendations made by the ALC’s submission are, firstly, that the federal government provide incentive payments to state, territory and local governments to support planning and zoning reform that will ensure the efficiency and safety of freight supply chains, and, secondly, that the federal government establish a dedicated “Freight Strategy and Planning division” as part of the Department of Infrastructure and Regional development.

On August 11, the ALC will be appearing before the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Infrastructure, Transport and Cities to elaborate on its submission.

The deadline for submissions to the Committee is August 31.