QTA, ALGA see merits in infrastructure plan


QTA calls for independent price regulator, O’Loughlin says national freight strategy can solve access issues

QTA, ALGA see merits in infrastructure plan
David O’Loughlin says the national freight strategy can help unlock investment that can result in a direct cumulative GDP benefit of $1.72 billion over three years.

 

The Queensland Trucking Association (QTA) is calling for the federal government to stick to its original timetable of "moving to independent heavy vehicle price regulation by 2017-18", while the Australian Local Government Association (ALGA) is urging governments to work together to improve national productivity.

The suggestions come as the government released its response to the 15-year Australian Infrastructure Plan last week.

ALGA says removing first and last mile constraints across the national freight network can improve freight productivity.

Along with the Australian Logistics Council (ALC), ALGA president David O’Loughlin has welcomed government’s proposal to formulate a national freight and supply chain strategy.

O’Loughlin says such a strategy could address many issues highlighted in its earlier call for governments to improve transport infrastructure and remove first and last mile bottlenecks on local roads.

"We know almost every freight journey starts and ends on a road built, owned and maintained by local government, so first and last mile issues are of particular concern to the sector and we are on board with this plan that aims to address supply chain problems from start to end," O’Loughlin says.

"ALGA’s Freight Strategy, if supported by the government, could immediately begin to unlock local and regional productivity improvements by investing in regional planning and freight route identification, and enabling more efficient movement of freight.

"Our costings show that this investment would result in a direct cumulative GDP benefit of $1.72 billion over three years and create 4,100 jobs.

"That's a great return for the freight industry, for local producers, for local communities and Australia."

Meanwhile, QTA is also calling for the government to:

  • Set up an independent price regulator so that:
    1. transport ministers can set legally binding pricing rules in accordance with legislated pricing and consultation principles
    2. ministers do not have the power to override or review pricing determinations
    3. merit-based appeals to the Australian Competition Tribunal can be made
  • Conduct regular audits of the cost of maintaining and building roads "because if trucking operators are to pay for forecast expenditure then it needs to be transparent and accountable".

The government has announced plans to use "innovative" methods to raise funds that can help fund key transport infrastructure projects.

QTA has welcomes government’s plan to "progress with heavy vehicle reform through the development of a forward looking cost base, and a discussion paper to inform consultation on options for an independent price regulator.

"As we already know truck and bus operators will be overcharged by $515 million over the next two years, so achieving this reform will be an important outcome," a QTA statement reads.

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