Albanese lambasts industry

Transport Minister Anthony Albanese uses today’s keynote speech at the 2011 ALC Forum to urge industry to stop complaining and engage with reform

Albanese lambasts industry
Albanese lambasts industry

By Anna Game-Lopata | February 22, 2011

Transport Minister Anthony Albanese today launched the federal government's National Land Freight Strategy Discussion paper
at the Australian Logistics Council's (ALC) 2011 Annual Forum.

The Minister used
his keynote speech to urge industry to stop complaining and engage with reform.

Launching the strategy paper, Minister Albanese
told close to
300 industry stakeholders to get involved in the process rather than "sitting back and complaining about governments not doing enough".

"The process of consultation for the strategy will take the same form as that for the National Ports Strategy," Albanese said.

"The draft discussion paper will be available to encourage dialogue and I urge you to lobby and campaign over these issues or else it won’t happen.

"Too often industry has not put its shoulder to the wheel when it is necessary to campaign for these reforms.

"I can’t do it alone.

"Inevitably there will be push back because change is always difficult.

"My request to you is to join with me to ensure that these measures are adopted," the Minister said.

The draft freight strategy discussion paper proposes one national integrated system to identify existing and yet to be built roads, rail lines, intermodal ports and airports that will link together to form a workable, truly national freight network.

"As part of this process, consideration will be given to opening up more roads to bigger vehicles, establishing dedicated freight routes and separating passenger and freight trains," Albanese says.

A critical part of this will require effective planning and protection for the network's land corridors from urban encroachment to make sure they are not lost to other activities.

"In the longer term these preservation efforts will save money and ensure the timely delivery of new and upgraded infrastructure," the Minister says.

As part of the strategy, Albanese re-iterated the government's pledge to put in place a long term capital works program which prioritises projects of greatest strategic importance.

"We intend to draw on the financial resources of both public and private sectors," Albanese says.

Albanese also took the opportunity to point out the importance of using technology to get the most out of existing infrastructure, as well as smarter regulation.

"We need to transform the way our $61 billion transport industry is regulated with the ultimate goal of replacing the existing set of state based regulations with one set of nation-wide rules."

"Smart technology will turbo-charge our economy and help to manage congestion in our cities," he says.

"National regulators for heavy vehicles and rail safety will be in place by 2013."

"We also need better data collection to improve accountability, establish benchmarks of performance and make international comparisons."

Albanese says the National
Freight Strategy will complement the National Port Strategy currently being developed by Infrastructure Australia and the National Transport Commission (NTC).

"The Nationally Port Strategy is not about a federal take-over of the ports or any other existing state function," Albanese says.

"It is a guiding strategy being developed in conjunction with industry. It is a national effort to lift the performance of our ports and the cornerstone of a more productive freight system.

"The whole Freight Strategy is pretty simple," Albanese adds. "We aim for seamless access across the infrastructure network."

Submissions to the draft National Freight Strategy close at the end of April.

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