‘Incentivise efficient use of resources to boost productivity’


QTA chief suggests heavy vehicle access improvement can result in benefits for all

‘Incentivise efficient use of resources to boost productivity’
Mahon suggests a heavy vehicle reform program that reflects the most efficient movement of land based trade.

 

The Productivity Commission report highlights a clear role for government policies to enable business to become more productive, Queensland Trucking Association (QTA) CEO Gary Mahon says.

This can be done by removing regulatory impediments and incentivising more efficient use of resources, he suggests.

"These incentives should include heavy vehicle movements being substantially improved and for example single out agriculture where transport costs from the farm gate average 21 per cent of overall costs," Mahon says.

"The smallest gains will still aggregate a reasonable benefit for all."

Mahon says the report outlines the need to jolt productivity out of its mediocre trajectory of recent history in the 2000’s.

"An interesting observation from the report is that the Commission acknowledges that businesses are the ‘immediate driver’ of productivity in the market economy but it believes distrust of government is so high that it has become a risk to prosperity," he says.

"Among many recommendations one that is very relevant to our industry is ‘restructuring governance arrangements to ensure representatives of road users contribute to project selection and funding decisions to provide for independent appraisal of all major road expenditure proposals’.

"That is an initiative we would appreciate."

Mahon says the industry must work to improve government’s understanding of the productivity imperatives essential to the future of the nation, a thought in line with Australian Logistics Council (ALC’s) suggestion.

He points to a lack of investment related to productivity or regulatory performance despite the "substantial" funds raised by the federal government through various taxes.

"A bring-forward program of bridge investment would be an enormous boon for productivity," Mahon says.

"Autonomous vehicles may have some potential efficiencies but that won’t evaporate the need for network decisions to be made about highly efficient and safe combinations available to us today. 

"The Interstate Road Transport Act of 1985 set out to establish an open and more efficient ‘trade’ network. 

"This should be reinvigorated into a heavy vehicle reform program that reflects the most efficient movement of land based trade in this country. 

"The Australian Government raises substantial funds through our charges, excise and other taxes. 

"These funds are invested in a significant proportion of the national network and rarely if ever is this investment tied to productivity or regulatory performance.

"When 55 per cent of our population live in just four cities and you take into account the scale of distribution necessary for the nation the most efficient vehicles are imperative not discretionary.

"There are many other areas of the report of great interest to our industry including urban congestion, anti-competitive planning polices and other regulatory effects in the supply chain," he says.

"We appreciate the view of the Commission as an independent analyst and commend the report. 

"A valuable contribution to the policy change that we believe is warranted for the viability of our industry and the living standards of our country."

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