News, Road upgrades, Western Australia

WA cautiously optimistic over national freight strategy review


WA’s peak trucking body welcomes the fast-tracked 2023 review of the National Freight and Supply Chain Strategy but isn’t pinning its hopes on it for tangible fixes.

Rather than wait for results from the federal government’s review, now brought forward from the scheduled overhaul in 2024, Western Roads Federation CEO Cam Dumesny says the industry is now on the front foot in a bid to off-set potential issues.

As WA heads into another fire/wet season, Dumesny says transport is already operating with “one arm tied behind our backs”.

“The Perth to Darwin freight route will be in limp mode as we still don’t have a bridge and come the wet season the low-level [Fitzroy] crossing will be under water,” Dumesny said.

“We have a briefing session for industry next week on the upcoming risks for this season, so that companies can begin to work with WA clients to assess the risk and put plans in place.”

Dumesny believes that the current national strategy, first hatched by the Coalition in consultation with state governments and industry, has delivered “nothing but a bright shiny brochure”.

“The assessment is welcome, and yes we need a logistics systems approach, but we are fast losing confidence in the review, given its lack of achievements.”

The review of the National Freight and Supply Chain Strategy has commenced, following agreement with state and territory infrastructure and transport ministers.

Federal Transport Minister Catherine King says the review will ensure the strategy remains “fit-for-purpose” for the Australian freight and supply chains industry.

“We know this industry has experienced unprecedented and compounding disruptions over the past four years including a global pandemic, extreme weather events, geo-political tensions, skills shortages and more,” King said in a statement.

“The review is a critical opportunity to take stock of what has changed and what has been achieved since 2019. It will help build a more effective strategy that is better equipped to address Australia’s growing and changing freight task.”

The review will assess if there are gaps in the strategy’s goals and identify priorities for the next five-year National Action Plan.

“Stakeholder engagement will be an important part of identifying these gaps and priorities. The review will undertake stakeholder consultation and consider public submissions. In late August, I am looking forward to hosting a round table to hear directly from industry how the strategy can be strengthened.”

Ministers will consider the recommendations of the review by the end of this year.

To have your say, click here. Submissions close on September 29.

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