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Road freight associations call for urgent action on closures and delays

Both the WRF and the NTRTA have called for the federal government to hold a national meeting to address freight network issues and develop an effective supply chain strategy

Two transport associations have echoed calls that ongoing freight closures within Australia’s network, due to weather events, are leading to delayed goods and services.

Both the Western Roads Federation (WRF) and the Northern Territory Road Transport Association (NTRTA) have called for an immediate and coordinated response to Australia’s freight system.

The two associations have asked for a national meeting to be held to address the increasing number of trans-national freight disruptions, with floods currently impacting freight routes in the two jurisdictions.

Despite there being two federal parliament inquiries, the associations say there has been a lack of progress and an ad hoc response to the disruptions, which is resulting in additional pressure being placed on Australia’s transport system.

Alongside the national meetings, the two associations also want the federal government to address an integrated approach and the development of an effective National Freight Supply Chain (NFSC) strategy to ensure the smooth flow of freight and reduce vulnerabilities.

WRF CEO Cam Dumesny says he has concerns over ongoing freight delays in both WA and the NT.

“Enough is enough, here we are in a post-COVID operating environment, yet we are experiencing ongoing disruptions caused by failing infrastructure,” Dumesny says.

“Whether it is natural disasters causing freight disruptions, or damage to rail or trucking routes, lessons must be learnt and gaps closed.

“We need long-term practical measures that safeguard the efficiency and reliability of Australia’s freight network. By developing a robust and interconnected freight network, we can build resilience and mitigate the negative and costly impacts of closures and delays.”

NTRTA executive officer Louise Bilato says the national meeting aims to identify specific actions and accountability measures that can be implemented in the absence of a National Freight Resilience plan.

“Ignoring major freight disruptions comes at considerable cost to Australian businesses and the wider community,” Bilato says.

“Australia’s freight network requires a coordinated and comprehensive approach, one that takes into account all freight systems. We need to shift the dial, and move from a ‘just in time’ to a ‘just in case’ mindset – it is imperative we act now as the number of trans-national freight disruptions continue to rise.

“Without an efficient and reliable freight network, the country comes to a standstill. We are sounding the alarm and calling for urgent action. It is time for a coordinated approach to address the growing freight disruptions and to develop a comprehensive National Freight Resilience plan.”

To raise public awareness and engage a wider audience, both industry leaders are urging a national meeting with federal and state governments to address the issue, stressing the dire need for enhanced collaboration and collective action to ensure the resilience and stability of Australia’s freight network.

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