'New focus' for ALC without funds, boss

Government cuts funding to the ALC, forcing lobbying efforts to be slashed and staff, including Hal Morris, quit

'New focus' for ALC without funds, boss
'New focus' for ALC without funds, boss
By Jason Whittaker

The Federal Government has cut its funding to the Australian Logistics Council, which will see lobbying efforts slashed and staff, including boss Hal Morris, leave the group.

The ALC will close its Gold Coast headquarters to shift closer to government and bureaucrats in either Canberra or Sydney. Morris will not make the move, he confirms to ATN.

Morris says the Federal Government has slashed by half funding to the umbrella advisory group, with funding to be cut completely next year.

ALC Chairman Ivan Backman says in a statement the board has elected to "focus more tightly and address the issues of regulation, infrastructure and influence".

The group, he says, will also "investigate innovative partnerships and other arrangements to drive forward on the current elements of the ALC work program that fall outside this new core area".

The ALC was established by the previous Coalition government, though Morris denies Labor’s decision to cut funding is a political one.

"I’ve had no inkling of that," he tells ATN.

"I’d be surprised if it is. Certainly I’m non-political and always have been.

"Rather than be a partnership with industry leaders and government, they see us more as being the peak body for freight."

While the ALC was set up to drive industry strategy, Morris says much of that work is now being done by transport ministers as part of the Australian Transport Council’s reform agenda.

Morris says the board looked at the existing work program and decided the top priority remains regulatory harmonisation, particularly around the push for a single road and rail regulator.

The board is still examining whether to move to Canberra or to be closer to federal Transport Minister Anthony Albanese and the Government’s advisory body Infrastructure Australia in Sydney.

Backman says the move will happen "within the next few months".

Morris, a Queenslander and long-time transport bureaucrat and lobbyist, was asked to make the move but after five years as chief executive will remain behind.

"There’s been no dummy spit," he says.

The ALC's safety specialist Ian Ross will remain in Queensland working remotely, but two other staff will quit the group.

Backman says the last 12 to 18 months have been "tremendously successful" for the ALC in influencing the national freight agenda.

"The board is confident that these changes will take ALC to an even higher level of performance," he says.

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