Governments lashed for lax freight strategy deadlines

ALC puts spotlight on undefined measures of progress and accountability

Governments lashed for lax freight strategy deadlines
Kirk Coningham


Australian Logistics Council (ALC) has "expressed disappointment" over the lack of hard deadlines contained in National Freight and Supply Chain Strategy (NFSCS) implementation plans presented by state and territory governments.

Western Australia’s agreement list timeframes as short-, medium- and long-term with the status of items having two options, ‘Committed’ or ‘For Investigation’; Tasmania’s has a mix of completion times, "Ongoing’ and 10-year timeframes; South Australia’s had none at all; New South Wales’ points to NSW Freight and Ports Plan 2018-2023 implementation plans, which list ‘immediate’ (0-2 years, short-term (3-5 years) and medium-term (5-10 years), ‘long-term’ (10-plus years)  and ‘Ongoing’; Northern Territory’s four projects has two for three years, one for four years and the airport expansion was blank, Victoria’s has undefined and  ‘Ongoing’ or timeframes of between three and seven years or none, Queensland has an implementation plan and an alignment document with the NFSCS and neither has time frames.

"When the Strategy was released at the beginning of August, ALC said that it would be essential for each jurisdiction to provide an implementation plan that clearly showed how their actions would align to the Strategy’s four critical areas," ALC CEO Kirk Coningham says.

"We also said that the implementation plans needed real details, real dollars and real deadlines, so that progress could be properly measured and jurisdictions could be held to account when it comes to delivery of outcomes.

"This message was consistently emphasised in ALC’s discussions and representations to governments at all levels in the lead up to last week’s Transport and Infrastructure Council (TIC) meeting in Melbourne.

"While ALC acknowledges that the overwhelming majority of states and territories have at least made some effort in relation to setting out the details and the dollars, there is very little in these plans to give industry confidence that the measures will be pursued with a sufficient sense of urgency."

Read how the National Freight and Supply Chain Strategy was approved, here

The industry body is concerned about the risk of backsliding and diversion from the lack of definition.

"Under the arrangements for implementing the Strategy, all jurisdictions will be required to report their progress to the Transport and Infrastructure Council (TIC) at the end of each year," Coningham says

"However, for those reports to actually be useful in determining the level of progress, there has to be a baseline against which to measure.

"ALC notes that the implementation plans ‘are intended to be living documents’.

"As such, we will be urging all jurisdictions to move swiftly to provide updated plans that more clearly set out by when particular actions, initiatives and infrastructure projects will be completed – and properly indicate which minister or agency has responsibility for delivering."

"This added detail will be essential to allow industry and the community to fully assess progress and hold governments to their commitments."



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