Industry groups welcome NSW Freight and Ports Strategy

NSW’s peak business organisation, the NSW Business Chamber, said the release this week of the NSW Government’s Draft Freight and Ports Strategy by Transport Minister, Gladys Berejiklian, and Roads and Ports Minister, Duncan Gay, would help guide the future growth of the freight task that underpins the NSW economy.

“Freight transport and management is one of those mundane public policy issues that never dominates the news headlines but is absolutely fundamental to the health and success of our economy and our very quality of life,” said Stephen Cartwright, CEO of the NSW Business Chamber.

“We need to raise the importance of our freight network and its inefficiencies as matters of public interest. I’m pleased to see the NSW Government taking a leadership role in an area that supports our entire economy.

“There are about 500,000 people directly employed in freight transport in NSW, but arguably nearly every single job in our state is linked to our freight network in some way. Every product or service we use in the workplace or in the home comes as a result of freight transport.”

Mr Cartwright said freight movements in NSW were expected to nearly double over the next twenty years from 409 million tonnes in 2011 to 794 million tonnes in 2031. “There are some truly astounding figures about the amount of materials that are moved around NSW every single day and how that will only mushroom in coming decades.”

The Australian Logistics Council (ALC) also welcomed the release of the Draft Strategy. “This draft strategy is an important first step – the challenge before industry and government is to now build upon its recommendations and to implement concrete measures that will improve network capacity, reliability and sustainability,” said Michael Kilgariff, ALC Managing Director.

“These steps include identifying the necessary steps to achieve the goal of getting more freight onto rail to Port Botany and specifying how councils will be provided assistance when considering requests for High Productivity Vehicle access. Also important is ensuring the strategy is consistent with the freight initiatives contained in the National Land Freight Strategy, the National Port Strategy and the Heavy Vehicle Charging and Investment Reform project.

“Unless there is consistency in key areas such as heavy vehicle pricing and investment, port planning and the development of a seamless interstate freight network, the much anticipated productivity benefits of these reforms are at risk. ALC also welcomes the proposal to encourage off peak delivery patterns to supermarkets and hopes that this will ultimately be used to develop documentation that councils must consider when making local heavy vehicle access decisions.

“We also acknowledge the NSW Government’s support for the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator and trust this converts to the provision of necessary resources to ensure the NHVR has the ‘teeth’ necessary to deliver on this reform’s potential economic benefits,” he said.

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