We need a national economy: Smith

ALTA president and owner of D&S Smith Transport, David Smith, says Australia needs a single economy to compete

By Brad Gardner | August 17, 2010

Australia cannot succeed in the marketplace unless it operates as a national economy, the president of the Australian Livestock Transporters Association (ALTA) says.

David Smith used his address to this year’s conference of the Livestock Transporters Association of Victoria (LTAV) to make the case for an end to cross-border differences.

Smith, who runs D&S Smith Transport, says Australia’s small population means it must operate efficiently to compete.

"We can’t have barriers between the states. We need to operate as a single national marketplace," he says.

"Australia can’t compete unless our nation operates as one economy."

Unless it can export products into countries like Asia, Europe and North America, Smith says Australia "can’t survive".

"And if we can’t compete with the products being made in those regions, we also can’t survive," he says.

His comments came as the nation’s governments continue work on the move toward the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator, which will be introduced in 2013.

It will be responsible for streamlining transport regulations, which currently differ from state to state.

The regulator will be based in Queensland with offices throughout Australia. Queensland will be responsible for passing laws and other states will introduce the same legislation to ensure uniformity.

During his speech, Smith also noted the importance of the livestock transport sector.

"In most parts of Australia we provide the only supply chain that links ‘paddock to plate’ and ‘paddock to port’," he says.

"In meat products, our transport services make up more of the cost of the finished product than any other commodity in Australia."

Smith says the livestock transport industry plays a vital role in Australia's agriculture export trade, which makes up 20 percent of exports, because it is responsible for getting goods to market.

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