Progress on reforms critical this election year

With the theme ‘Future Logistics Infrastructure’, the Forum focussed on the critical infrastructure policy issues on the national agenda. Business leaders used the opportunity to call on governments to deliver on much needed logistics reforms to improve the efficiency of our national supply chains. These included heavy vehicle road reform, key infrastructure projects such as inland rail, and improving corridor protection measures.

The Forum had a particular focus on NSW freight efficiency and the projects and policies required to meet a projected doubling of the state’s freight task by 2030.

A focal point of discussions at the Forum was the recent release of Infrastructure Australia’s 15-year Infrastructure Plan, with Phil Davies, IA’s Chief Executive Officer, briefing Forum delegates on the Plan.

I am pleased Infrastructure Australia has embraced a number of recommendations ALC made in its submission on the Infrastructure Audit to boost productivity in the freight logistics sector.

In particular, we applaud IA’s recommendation for a National Freight and Supply Chain Strategy. The mapping of nationally significant supply chains and their access to supporting infrastructure and gateways is sensible long-term thinking. So too are their recommendations to strengthen freight corridor protection, progressing road funding reforms and integrating land use planning and transport planning.

IA’s plan paves the way for improved freight efficiency. The challenge before all governments is to work in the national interest and implement its recommendations in a timely and coordinated fashion.

A common theme running through our discussions at the Forum was the need for more work by both industry and government to convince the public of the benefits of logistics investment and reform, particularly to ports’ landside infrastructure, to underpin continued economic growth and community wellbeing.

Another significant talking point was the need to improve rail access to Australia’s major ports, as well as their linkages to key inland intermodal facilities.  

The issues affecting the delivery of freight in our CBDs was also a hot topic, with a consensus that industry and government need to work closer together to improve the efficient delivery of parcels in our cities brought about by the growth in e-retailing.

The Forum also saw the launch of new Australian Transport Standards for Freight Labelling and EDI developed by the ALC Supply Chain Standards Work Group.

The Australian Transport Standards include the ALC endorsed Australian Freight Labelling Guideline and Australian Transport EDI User Guides to provide one common label format to identify freight and one common file format to exchange data throughout the freight transportation process.

The Forum also marked a significant change of leadership at the helm of ALC, with the retirement of long-serving Chairman Don Telford and the appointment of Ian Murray AM.

Don has chaired ALC since 2010, during which time he has overseen significant changes to ALC, including growing our membership and sharpening and strengthening our advocacy focus. Don’s induction into the ALC Hall of Fame is a fitting tribute to a logistics giant and recognises his extraordinary service to our industry.

Our new Chairman, Ian Murray AM, has a long and proud association with the Australian Logistics Council, having served on the board since its creation. Ian’s strong customer focus gives him a solid understanding of the critical link between the logistics industry and the broader business community. He spent 13 years as the Executive Director of the Australian Institute of Export, following which he created and launched the Export Council of Australia.

I thank Don for his extraordinary service to Australia’s logistics industry and look forward to working with Ian to continue delivering for ALC’s members and the broader logistics community.

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