Deadline coming up for submissions to freight supply chain inquiry

The federal government is calling on members of Australia’s supply chain to submit their ideas on the Inquiry into National Freight and Supply Chain Priorities discussion paper before July 28.

The inquiry has been purposed to help the development of the government’s National Freight and Supply Chain Strategy, which is being designed to position the country to meet national freight demands into the future.

Federal transport and infrastructure minister, Darren Chester, said that stakeholder feedback was crucial to help develop plans that will take advantage of the growing freight task in Australia.

“This inquiry, which will feed into the National Freight and Supply Chain Strategy, will ensure Australia can meet the needs of consumers, businesses, and domestic and international markets and realise the opportunities to produce more local goods,” Chester said.

“Our freight task will grow by 50 per cent over the next two decades as our nation’s population increases, creating additional demands on our transport network.”

Chester last week hosted a Freight and Supply Chain Strategy roundtable with agribusiness stakeholders in Melbourne, where he linked the government’s infrastructure spending priorities with the long-term strategy of improving freight supply.

“The Turnbull-Joyce Government is investing over $75 billion toward major infrastructure projects, including the $8.4 billion Inland Rail project between Melbourne and Brisbane, the $10 billion National Rail Program, and upgrades to the Bruce and Pacific Highways, to ensure that Australia’s freight task is met,” the minister said.

“The strategy will ensure the right policy and regulatory settings are in place to optimise long-term infrastructure investments, boost Australia’s prosperity, and meet community expectations for safety, security, and environmental amenity.”

The discussion paper can be accessed on the Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development website (https://infrastructure.gov.au/transport/freight/national-strategy.aspx) and submissions can be made to the department by email or post.

After an examination of various regulatory and investment barriers and an assessment of the opportunities available to improve freight capacity and reduce business costs, the Inquiry team will provide a final report to the Minister for Infrastructure and Transport by March 2018.

“Everyone is part of the national supply chain, whether you are a producer competing with domestic and global markets, a freight operator shifting those products to our ports, or a consumer who wants the best value possible,” Chester said.

“With submissions closing on 28 July 2017, I would encourage all interested parties to have their say and help shape Australia’s freight future.”