We need networks and notices: QTA

The Australian Logistics Council (ALC) has called for the adoption of a scorecard system to make each state and territory accountable for their commitments to the National Freight and Supply Chain Strategy.

Under the scheme, each jurisdiction would receive a grade – A, B, C and F – that would be determined by comparison against a set of benchmarks.

It is proposed that these three broad benchmarks will be; 1. Progress Against Deadlines 2. Alignment with National Strategy 3. Level of Detail (including gaps).

The ALC has consistently expressed disappointment over the lack of real deadlines contained in these implementation plans and sees the Scorecard concept as a fix.

The council said that Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Michael McCormack endorsed the concept when it was presented to him last December.

“The Scorecard is a powerful tool that will encourage all levels of Government to deliver their commitments to implement the National Freight and Supply Chain Strategy,” McCormack told them.

ALC CEO Kirk Coningham added: “Real progress on implementing the National Freight and Supply Chain cannot be achieved without commitment to timelines for the completion of initiatives. To achieve improvements in productivity, progress towards finishing a project must form a key performance indicator of NFSCS progress.”

However, Gary Mahon, CEO of the Queensland Trucking Association, told Big Rigs he wasn’t so sure the scorecard concept was the answer to keeping projects on track.

“The National Cabinet process during Covid, which has been to draw out a more co-operative model, would be the preferred approach,” he told us.

“And applying report cards on the respective states would seem to me to be less likely to produce consistent results.

“Each of the states has their own priorities and their own special issues. That’s the way federations work, and I think you have to bear that in mind when trying to move all the jurisdictions relatively consistently together.

“More importantly, the focus should be on the national end base trade routes. Where are intermodal connections going to be at the Melbourne end and Brisbane end for the inland rail?

“Why do we not have high productivity combinations mobilised around the country after all these years? Why do we not have A-doubles operating on the Melbourne to Sydney corridor?”

Mahon also refuted the ALC’s December report on Queensland’s performance which was critical of its progress on projects flagged as priorities.

“I’d make the point that in terms of the current circumstances in Queensland, projects do have timelines.

“We’ve now had the inland freight route added to the priorities and that was a progressive decision we argued strongly for. We’ve got six new bridges on the forward program with time frames around them so in fairness to both the state and federal government, we would argue there is a reasonable list of progressive investments on schedule.”

Mahon was also sceptical about whether the ALC would get much buy-in to its proposal late last year for a National Freight Data Hub to enable the sharing of information about the movement of freight and vehicles.

“Data collection is helpful but what it tells us is where we’ve been and what we’re currently doing; what we’re looking to do is actually shape a different future to make us a more efficient country,” said Mahon.

“We have not made much progress in the last 10 years in terms of elevating road freight into the more efficient combinations that we could.

“We don’t want to be reliant on permits and routes; we need networks and notices.”

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