ALC pushes change to boost freight planning

New bureaucracy should be established and money set aside to secure vitally important infrastructure, according to the ALC

By Brad Gardner | March 8, 2010

A new freight-dedicated bureaucracy should be established and money set aside to secure vitally important infrastructure, according to the Australian Logistics Council.

The ALC has released its submission to Infrastructure Australia on the national freight network plan, which is currently being developed to put in place the regulatory, infrastructure and investment needs to cope with the growing freight task.

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd earlier this year said the plan was being developed alongside a national ports strategy and that freight transport would be a priority in 2010.

According to the submission, a body called Freight Australia needs to be created within Infrastructure Australia to monitor the plan.

The ALC says the body should be responsible for commissioning and analysing data, identifying nationally significant infrastructure and identifying transport and logistics blockages.

The submission calls for a national partnership on land use decisions between jurisdictions to give priority to nationally significant infrastructure.

Under this plan, states and territories will: "provide a fund to finance land-use decisions by state and local governments that favour nationally significant infrastructure over other land uses."

The proposal has potential problems, however, with the ALC saying it will be difficult to make decisions due to competing interests.

"That said, the transport and logistics industry requires access to freight corridors. Moreover, inefficiencies occur if there is too much residential intrusion near, or too much congestion around, logistics infrastructure," the submission says.

Echoing comments made previously by the Australian Trucking Association (ATA), the ALC also wants incentives given to trucking operators using high productivity vehicles.

It recommends a road pricing scheme for road transport linked to actual and indirect cots impacts, which it says will improve distribution of resources across the transport and logistics sector.

And as chain of responsibility laws being to roll out across Australia, the ALC wants its own code, the ALC National Logistics Safety Code, recognised under the laws.

"A logistics participant who follows the NLSC code should be taken to have satisfied national CoR legislation," the submission says.
Under chain of responsibility, all parties in the supply chain are accountable for managing driver fatigue and speed.

The ALC also used the submission to reiterate its support for national regulations, calling current cross-border inconsistencies "unacceptable".

"Single national systems for heavy vehicle regulation and maritime and rail safety are to be encouraged, not frustrated," the submission reads.

The ALC was established in 2002 as part of a government-funded initiative, but is now funded by its members. The group moved from Brisbane to Canberra this year to focus more on advocacy, regulation and infrastructure.

Infrastructure Australia is a government-industry body set up by the Rudd Government to help drive infrastructure investment by recommending where funds should be spent to improve efficiency and productivity.

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