Liberals promise new Supply Chain Commissioner

A new Supply Chain Commissioner for New South Wales could work with the transport industry to unblock supply chains across the state.

The current Liberal Government promised that it would appoint a new Supply Chain Commissioner if it is re-elected in the 2023 state election in March.

The State Government said the Commissioner will immediately move to establish a freight and logistics taskforce to look at innovative ways to drive down transport costs for goods to get the best deal for families across NSW.

According to Premier Dominic Perrottet, the appointment has been occasioned by the cost of living pressures and increasing inflation.

“Family budgets across the state are doing it tough, with a perfect storm of global economic pressures driving up the price of food, groceries and everyday goods,” he said.

“We know that supply chain issues have been one of the biggest contributors to inflation, with the pandemic, war in Ukraine and extreme weather events wreaking havoc on our freight industry.

“That is why we will move quickly to appoint a new Supply Chain Commissioner who will be specifically tasked with finding innovative ways to unblock our supply chains and ensure families get the best deal at the checkout.”

Under the plan the Commissioner will work closely with the NSW Productivity Commissioner, NSW Agriculture Commissioner and industry to tackle truck driver shortages by subsidising heavy vehicle course fees by up to $1,000; ensure the delivery of the Government’s $300 million Fast Tracking Freight program; drive national reform around packaging to reduce packaging coats; and address pinch points at ports by ensuring goods are checked and cleared faster.

Meanwhile, NSW Farmers has welcomed the Coalition’s announcement of a new Supply Chain Commissioner.

Improving and better connecting road and rail infrastructure was one of the peak agricultural body’s key election priorities, and NSW Farmers Grains Committee Chair, Justin Everitt, thanked Premier Dominic Perrottet for backing it in.

“It is critical we have fit-for-purpose road, rail and port infrastructure to get food and fibre from farm gate to dinner plate,” he said.

“At the moment we have a lot of inefficiencies in the supply chain that are resulting in higher prices for consumers.

“Farmers are often left scratching their heads when they see the produce they sold for cents a kilo retailing for dollars a kilo.”

Polling commissioned by NSW Farmers revealed the cost of living was the biggest issue that would sway voters at the upcoming state election, with two-thirds of those polled saying the cost of food and groceries was their number one concern.

Everitt said getting efficient connections from farms to processors, distributors and retailers would help bring food costs down, but the work of the Supply Chain Commissioner needed ‘whole-of-government support’.

“This commissioner will need to be properly resourced and taken seriously if the role is to have real impact; we know commissioners are only as good as decision makers allow them to be,” he said.

“There have been some promising announcements about improving road and rail infrastructure already, but there are also opportunities to better support agricultural production.

“Ultimately it’s farmers who grow the food and fibre every one of us needs, and prioritising positive agricultural policies will be key to bringing prices down.”

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