SA Freight Council calls for new approach to transport

By: Jason Whittaker

Pressure is mounting on government to overhaul transport regulations after a report by the South Australian Freight Council (SAFC) revealed

Pressure is mounting on government to overhaul transport regulations after a report by the South Australian Freight Council (SAFC) revealed there were number of inefficiencies strangling the transport industry.

The SAFC is calling for immediate government intervention to address failings in road, rail and port regulations, to improve larger road freight vehicle access, and to overhaul the restrictive curfew operating at Adelaide’s main airport.

According to the report, governments must scrap "the complex and costly maze of regulations governing heavy vehicle access" or risk limiting productivity growth in the industry.

It also revealed major failings in the rail sector, calling for governments to invest more in technical and safety standards, which are currently inadequate to the point of constraining rail operators and raising "major enduring safety concerns".

As part of a number of recommendations made, the report wants governments to ban all parking on principle freight routes, arguing parked cars are causing serious disruption to traffic flows.

The current curfew in place at Adelaide Airport, which restricts flights between 11pm and 6am, must also be scrapped, according to SAFC. Under the curfew, international passenger flights can operate at the expense of domestic arrivals, in turn restricting the amount of air freight that can be carted to and from South Australia.

SAFC Chairman Vincent Tremaine has blasted the curfew and has called for the Federal Government to overhaul the regulation, which he says is "restrictive and antiquated".

"The State’s economic prospects are being slowly eroded by this current outdated regime," Tremaine says.

The report also took a swipe at the State Government, questioning why it had not implemented a transport plan to account for the burgeoning freight task which is expected to double by 2020.

"The development of a 20 to 30-year transport plan could help establish long-term planning priorities," the report states.

Despite these recommendations, the report also stated it did not want governments to continue burdening the industry with more regulations. According to the report, deregulation will boost profit margins by an extra $100 billion over the next 25 years based on the findings of the Productivity Commission.

The SAFC placed the onus on the industry to work towards harmonising regulations, calling for states and territories to stop adapting proposals made by the National Transport Commission (NTC), such as fatigue management regulations.

"Often when the NTC proposes a draft change, each state will implement it differently or in part, or will choose not to implement it all, leaving a hole in the regulatory network," the report says.

Tremaine says SAFC, which includes a membership of more than 10,000 businesses, plans to meet with the Rann and Rudd governments to develop ways of dealing with capacity constraints within the transport industry.

The SAFC is the peak multi-modal industry group that advises the State and Federal governments on issues affecting freight logistics across the supply chain.

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