Regional challenges for national freight strategy: WARTA


Dumesny stresses on difference in eastern and western freight markets, calls for detailed audit of WA investment priorities

Regional challenges for national freight strategy: WARTA
Dumesny states road funding allocation must consider productivity needs and benefits.

 

The Western Australian Road Transport Association (WARTA) has made 16 recommendations in its submission to the National Freight and Supply Chain Strategy (NFSCS).

One of the foremost recommendations in the report presses on the ‘difference’ between freight tasks at Fremantle Ports to that of ports along the eastern coast of Australia.

The report says because Australian freight market is not "homogenous", a "one size fits all strategy has not, and will not work".

The submission, which has been prepared by WARTA executive officer Cam Dumesny, calls for development and proper funding for regional WA freight networks so that the commodity export sector is able to face the challenges of a competitive global industry.

It recommends detailed audit of road maintenance and investment priorities that can help unlock economic potential of WA’s regional networks.

Tackling shortfalls

WARTA says many small to medium businesses are currently ill-equipped to meet the challenges of disruptive technologies.

It suggests the national strategy to explore options to increase the level of professional development and technology awareness to help such operators identify productivity opportunities.

The submission also discusses the issue of workforce ageing and recommends a national skills plan to attract young drivers.

It notes that in WA and the Northern Territory – regions that are particularly dependant on long-distance road transport drivers – their average age is said to be move than 50 years.

And unless efforts are made to attract younger drivers, the regions will soon be facing a serious workforce shortage.

Here’s a summary of WARTA's 16 recommendations:

1. Recognise that the Australian freight task is not homogenous. The NFSCS must take account of unique differences to grow regional and remote Australia at a pace commensurate with global demands. The imperative of national regulation must be productive and safe facilitation of trade, not national regulation in and of itself.

2. A de-politicised and objective strategic framework must be developed to ensure the regional freight networks that underpin Australia’s export income are properly funded in order to maintain the global competitiveness of our commodity exports. This recommendation correlates with the intent of the Freight and Logistic Council of WA submission.

3. A detailed audit of road maintenance and investment priorities be conducted and published of regional WA freight networks. This may involve the consolidation of data from different source organisations and/ or committees, such as the good work done on the Wheat belt regional freight networks and Road Safety Commission work on rest stop locations.

4. Consideration be given to developing regional freight networks as identified systems, with road funding allocated specifically to optimise the system for productivity.

5. Government engage with industry to access existing industry telematics data to assisting regional network planning. This data can be used to help model freight network activity (albeit based on the extrapolation of available telematic data). It should be noted that in consultation with members regarding data, if it is to be supplied it will only be to a trusted source, not a regulator.

6. WARTA supports the Recommendations 3 to 7 of the Australian Trucking Association (ATA) submission to the NFSCS.

7. That the current fragmented programs for funding local government roads be abolished and a simplified funding model be developed.

8. Consideration be given to developing a transparent and hypothecated model of benefit – cost sharing to enable productive investments in road freight infrastructure to be brought forward.

9. Consideration be given to evaluating the strategic value of transport operators holding fuel in order to mitigate supply risks. Examine the cost-benefit of introducing an incentive to transport operators to encourage the use of such tanks to meet our International obligations.

10. A national skills plan be developed in order to attract younger drivers in to the long distance driving task.

11. That continued productivity improvements in road freight connections to the port be pursued in conjunction with any policy targets to move to other modes such as rail.

12. That the NFSCS include reference to the need to encourage greater collaboration between urban transport planners and the logistics industry.

13. That it include reference to the need for greater professional development within the freight and logistics industry.

14. That it include reference to developing a strategy to improve the public image and connection to the industry.

15. That it include consideration of how significant suppressed or lost economic activity due to supply chain issues could be captured and potentially valued in order to assist in future planning.

16. That it include a strong statement of support for the WA and NT proposal to develop export markets for our global expertise in long distance distribution.

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