New government statistics send a clear message that lifting transport productivity needs to be a top priority for whichever party wins the federal election, the National Road Transport Association (NatRoad) said.
Statistics published ahead of the Fair Work Commission’s Annual Wage Review 2021-22 show the transport, postal and warehousing sector had the worst productivity growth of all industries over a five-year period.
“The sector took the wooden spoon with negative growth of -2 per cent for labour productivity and -2.8 per cent for multifactor productivity,” said NatRoad CEO Warren Clark.
“The Heavy Vehicle National Law (HVNL) reform process was supposed to make road transport more efficient, so this is just more confirmation that it’s failed.
“The pandemic made the freight task harder for everybody but also demonstrated beyond doubt that road freight is an essential industry in Australia.
“With fuel prices sky-high and the supply chain still experiencing blockages, even small reforms can make a big difference.”
Clark said NatRoad was optimistic that the Kanofski Review into the HVNL reform process could open the prospect of industry having more of a say and getting the industry on track for productivity enhancing reform.
“The Australian freight task has quadrupled over the last four decades and it feels like red tape and regulation has grown at the same rate,” Clark said.
The federal government has engaged former NSW roads and maritime services head Ken Kanofski to provide the infrastructure and transport ministers’ meeting (ITMM) with an assessment of:
• Industry’s view of current jurisdictional supported reform proposals.
• Additional items that industry seeks to have addressed by the review.
• An assessment of what can be done to resolve differences and provide a reform package that reflects the views of all stakeholders.
The report is due by the end of April.
“We want a root-and-branch examination of what’s a very broken process and while that hasn’t been granted, this is the next best thing,” added Clark.