How the Federal Government is “Delivering on Freight”

As a global logistics company, SILA wants to deliver seamless supply chain solutions for our clients, so we have a vested interest in what the Federal Government is doing to support Australia’s freight system, which it acknowledges to be the lifeblood of our economy. Each year, Australia’s transport and logistics providers deliver about four billion tonnes of goods across the country, which equates to 163 tonnes of freight for every person. 

Freight supply chains are responsible for getting petrol to the service station, food to supermarket shelves, household trash to the tip, and essential pharmaceuticals to our hospitals. They connect our agricultural regions and resource basins to cities and ports, and deliver Australian produce and minerals to markets in Asia and beyond.

Therefore it’s imperative that our infrastructure, such as railways, roads, airports, and ports, can facilitate the smooth and efficient movement of freight. However, increasing freight volumes, a growing population, congestion, poorly planned and maintained infrastructure and urban encroachment are all impacting on the ability of our infrastructure to support an effective and competitive freight future.

To help position Australia for this challenge and allow us to remain competitive in the global marketplace, a National Freight and Supply Chain Strategy (NFSCS) and Action Plan have been developed by all tiers of Government, with input from the logistics industry, to deliver an integrated, productive and competitive freight sector. 

A recent paper, Delivering on Freight, showcases the Federal Government’s contribution to the Action Plan and approach to achieving a nationally integrated freight system that’s more efficient and internationally competitive.

Positioning Australia to Meet the Challenge

Freight volumes continue to grow, particularly in major cities, with urban freight forecast to grow by about 80% over the next 20 years. Added to this is the pressure of an increasing population, with urban congestion already estimated to cost our economy $25 billion per annum. 

Infrastructure development is vital for the economic growth of any nation’s economy, and arguably none more so than transport infrastructure. Therefore an innovative and  coordinated approach is imperative, while also ensuring that safety and environmental considerations are taken into account. 

The NFSCS and Action Plan present a national picture of freight performance in Australia and outlines the goals and priority actions for the government to support a strong and prosperous freight industry. 

It’s no easy task, but Assistant Minister to the Deputy Prime Minister, Andrew Gee, says extensive action is already underway to improve our national freight system.

Want more details on what the Federal Government is doing to support the freight industry? Read on …

The NFSCS and Action Plan commits to action in four critical areas:

1.Smarter and Targeted Infrastructure

Examples of actions underway include

  • $4.5 billion Roads of Strategic Importance initiative to connect regional businesses to local and international markets, and better connect regional communities. 
  • The National and SA Governments’ $5.4 billion upgrade of the North-South Corridor, connecting the Port of Adelaide, Adelaide Airport, the Islington intermodal terminal and other freight terminals and precincts to enhance freight productivity in Adelaide.

2.Enable Improved Supply Chain Efficiency

Examples of actions underway include: 

  • Implementing the Queensland Transport and Logistics Workforce Strategy and Action Plan 2018-2023, which sets the direction for workforce reform and addresses industry-wide and sector-specific issues by government and industry. 
  • Governments collaborating with industry to ensure Australia is prepared for the arrival of automated vehicles and other transport innovations. 
  • A $70 million investment in the development of an advanced train communication and signalling system which is expected to deliver increased rail capacity, improved reliability, efficiency and flexibility, and increased rail safety. 
  • Integrating community engagement as key elements in the planning and construction of major transport infrastructure, including the Western Sydney Airport, Westconnex and Inland Rail.

3.Better Planning, Coordination & Regulation

Examples of actions underway include: 

  • City and Regional Deals bringing together the three levels of government to partner on bespoke planning, investment and governance for Australia’s cities and regions to allow for better planning and coordination around key freight corridors and precincts. 
  • A Productivity Commission inquiry into national transport reforms to investigate whether they are delivering national productivity and safety benefits, and further reform opportunities to improve productivity and safety. A final report will be provided to the Australian Government by April 2020.
  • The Westport Strategy is an integrated plan that will  guide the WA Government on the planning, development and growth of Perth’s freight needs for the next 50 years and beyond. 
  • The NSW Government’s Heavy Vehicle Access Policy Framework which outlines a strategic approach for opening up heavy vehicle access in NSW for both state and council roads. 
  • In SA, the ‘Improving Road Transport for the Agriculture Industry’ project has delivered over $80m of benefits to primary producers and transport operators across the State.

4.Better Freight Location & Performance Data

Examples of actions underway include: 

  • $5.2 million in the 2019-20 budget to settle the design of a National Freight Data Hub, including arrangements for data collection, protection, dissemination and hosting. 
  • Transport for NSW’s Freight Performance Dashboard that shows strategic targets from the NSW Freight and Ports Plan 2018-2023 as well as key road, rail and other performance measures.

Just the Beginning …

The Strategy and Action Plan, released in August 2019, is the starting point to achieve the desired outcomes, and Australian governments will continue to report annually on their progress. The annual reports will provide an opportunity to review freight performance, emerging issues and challenges for particular supply chains, modes or jurisdictions. There will also be major reviews of the Strategy and Action Plan every five years to ensure continuous improvement in supply chain performance, help identify gaps in government or industry actions, and stay focused on efforts to meet Australia’s freight challenge.

Here at SILA, we hope the vision becomes a reality and Australia’s infrastructure continues to allow us to deliver for our clients for decades to come.

For more information on Federal Government plans, read Delivering on Freight here.

To learn more about SILA’s services, head to our website or get in touch with our friendly teams in Australia or New Zealand:

Phone +61 7 3908 1690

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Phone +64 9 390 7942