Logistics body outlines policy priorities

The Australian Logistics Council (ALC) says it’s in the national interest that both major parties adopt its five policy priorities to achieve a more sustainable and efficient freight and logistics supply chain.

ALC CEO Brad Williams said the recent supply chain disruptions underscored the importance of the industry to the national economy.

“The freight and logistics supply chain has been front and centre for two years, against a backdrop of back-to-back challenges, the supply chain and in particular the workforce has kept the nation supplied, fed, and fuelled,” said Williams.

“ALC policy priorities are about the necessary structural and technological change that will build our capacity to absorb major shocks and allow us to respond to the growing needs and expectations of Australian households, businesses and communities.”

Australia’s freight task is growing with the urban freight challenge expected to see growth of 60 per cent over the next 20 years to 2040.

Below are edited extracts from the council’s five policy pillars:

Shift to intermodal

Commit to prioritising investment and policies to achieve a modal shift from road to rail, which is critical to the long-term sustainability and viability of the end-to-end supply chain, as well as easing road congestion, which was estimated to cost the Australian economy $19 billion in 2016 alone.

A coordinated and centralised approach to freight intermodals that ensures access for multiple supply chain participants, to help drive increased efficiency and productivity across all freight modes but most importantly in rail freight.

Recognise the importance of modal shift in changing the way freight is moved in Australia, including doubling the volume of freight transported on rail between Melbourne and Brisbane from 30 per cent to 62 per cent by 2050 and maximising the efficiency gains from the operation of Inland Rail.

National Freight and Supply Chain Strategy (NFSCS) review

Fast track the review of NFSCS, currently scheduled for 2024 to 2023 to integrate the lessons learned from the pandemic, extreme weather events, and global supply chain disruptions.

Through the NFSCS, commit to a truly multimodal freight and logistics supply chain, including the need for modal shift and the criticality of air freight to the national economy.

Assist industry toward zero emissions

Allocate additional funding through the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) and the Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) to build on their existing body of work and help drive the transition to low emission operations in the freight and logistics sector, focusing on:

Demonstrating the benefits of investing in hydrogen and other low emission fuels in reducing heavy transport emissions, through a targeted campaign aimed at small-medium sized operators.

Test, trial and invest in refuelling infrastructure for zero-emissions vehicles, to encourage uptake in the freight and logistics sector.

Skills for the future

Address immediate skill requirements by increasing the cap on skilled migration and including freight and logistics workers on the Priority Migration Skilled Occupation List.

Introduce a ‘semi-skilled’ category, to enable internationally acquired training to be recognised in the Australian freight and logistics sector, to address gaps in accreditation and qualification.

Expand the Australian Apprenticeship Priority List to include freight and logistics occupations and increase gender diversity in the workforce.

New Road User Charge system

Commence a process for the adoption of a national RUC, to apply across all jurisdictions and all classes of vehicles to ensure uniformity for industry and the economy.

Ensure the design of any RUC is based on a model of distance-based and location charging, to provide a sustainable stream of targeted investment in transport infrastructure and clarity for operators in the freight and logistics supply chain.

Phase out jurisdictional electric vehicle charging schemes that would duplicate a national RUC, to remove confusion, provide a consistent cost basis for businesses to plan, encourage the adoption of zero emission vehicles, and assist to balance the playing field for freight mode choices to optimise supply chain efficiencies.

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