INVESTMENTS in infrastructure and initiatives to help Australia handle its growing freight task must be front and centre of next week’s federal budget, the Australian Logistics Council says.
ALC managing director Michael Kilgariff said 2018 was a critical year for Australia’s freight logistics industry, culminating in the release of the National Freight and Supply Chain Strategy around November.
“However, there are a number of pressing priorities that can easily be advanced prior to the release of the Strategy – and the government should demonstrate its commitment to enhanced supply chain efficiency and safety by supporting them in next week’s budget,” Mr Kilgariff said.
“In particular, the duplication of the freight rail line at Port Botany must be supported. This has been identified as a priority project for many years, and will have efficiency benefits that would be felt well beyond the confines of NSW. Continued delays to the completion of this project will have significant economic consequences.”
Mr Kilgariff said the government should build on the investment made in Inland Rail last year by supporting dedicated connections to key ports, and by making freight rail projects eligible for money under the existing National Rail Program.
“ALC also urges the federal government to establish a freight strategy and planning division within the Department of Infrastructure, Regional Development and Cities, to ensure that the movement of freight is effectively monitored, analysed and prioritised in policy-making, and that the Strategy can be implemented smoothly,” he said.
Mr Kilgariff said a lack of data about supply chain performance was a major industry frustration.
“An efficient and safe supply chain is an essential precondition for boosting national economic growth,” he said.
“Next week’s federal budget offers a chance to lay the groundwork that will permit the National Freight and Supply Chain Strategy to be effectively implemented once finalised.”