ALC feels vindicated on national strategy focus

Annual forum reveals consensus on need for its development

ALC feels vindicated on national strategy focus
Michael Kilgariff sees huge enthusiasm for the national strategy


The Australian Logistics Council (ALC) sought general industry attention on the essence of a National Freight and Supply Chain Strategy (NFSCS) at its annual forum and, if the communique is anything to go by, it got it.

The ALC notes the forum was the first industry-wide gathering of the logistics sector’s key representatives since prime minister Malcolm Turnbull confirmed in the November 2016 Annual Infrastructure Statement that the federal government will develop a National Freight and Supply Chain Strategy.

"Accordingly, the focus of the forum was firmly on what should be contained within the Strategy, and how to continue building recognition of its importance for the national economy as a whole," the communique reads.

It adds that the forum demonstrated "a remarkable consensus across the industry about the urgent need to develop a National Freight and Supply Chain Strategy, as well as what needs to be incorporated within it.

"The economic and employment opportunities created through recent free-trade agreements and increasing freight efficiency within Australia are too important to squander through poor freight planning and bureaucratic inefficiency."

During its two days last week, federal infrastructure and transport minister Darren Chester announced the terms of reference for the Inquiry into National Freight and Supply Chain Priorities.

Chester confirmed that the draft report will be released for industry comment in December, with the final report due in the early months of 2018.

This inquiry will hear from a range of industry and government experts, as well as examine Infrastructure Australia’s Australian Infrastructure Plan, state freight and port strategies and the National Land Freight and Port strategies.

Chester also announced the formation of an expert panel to advise the government on the development of the Strategy.

Three outstanding logistics industry leaders have been appointed to the panel: NSW Ports CEO Marika Calfas; Qube MD Maurice James; Freight and Logistics Council of Western Australia chair Nicole Lockwood.

The organisation was particularly pleased for Calfas and James as they are ALC directors.

"The content of the discussions that occurred during the forum will now be used to inform the development of ALC’s submissions to the Federal Government’s Inquiry into freight and supply chain priorities," ALC CEO Michael Kilgariff says.

"The logistics sector must work effectively and cooperatively on the development of the National Freight and Supply Chain Strategy.

"It is now up to all of us to engage with the wider community, to help demonstrate that a safer and more efficient supply chain results in benefits for everyone. In a modern society such as ours, no Australian can afford to be without ready access to an effective supply chain.

"As the Inquiry is undertaken in the months ahead, ALC will continue playing a leading role to ensure that what ultimately emerges meets the needs of both the industry and the nation.

"This will include holding a series of detailed workshops covering many of the issues discussed, so that the advice we provide to government is properly focused and addresses the real needs of the logistics industry.

"ALC Forum 2017 was a crucial first step in what will be an intensive effort in the year ahead to develop the National Freight and Supply Chain Strategy.

"It is clear that there is enormous enthusiasm across the logistics sector about the development of this strategy.

"Our key challenge now is to convert that enthusiasm into momentum for real action, and ensure that the strategy ultimately delivers a supply chain that will produce significant national economic and social benefits."

A detailed summary of the forum’s major outcomes and points of agreement is available here.

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