Logistics body backs transport reform

ALC supports changes to transport planning and says IAP may be the tool for new road charging scheme

By Brad Gardner | October 28, 2009

Australia’s peak logistics body has backed calls for a new approach to transport planning and has flagged the Intelligent Access Program as a possible solution to road pricing.

The Australian Logistics Council (ALC) says the recent proposal by the Business Council of Australia for a national freight implementation plan for the road, rail and port sectors is good step to improving efficiency and productivity.

Under the BCA’s proposal, the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) will set long-term investment targets and focus on regulatory, policy and spending needs.

The plan will also accelerate the demise of inconsistent state-based laws by 2010 instead of 2013 and replace current road user charges with mass-distance charging.

"ALC urges CoAG to continue the reform process by agreeing to a single national heavy vehicle regulator and a national rail safety regulatory system," ALC Chief Executive Michael Kilgariff says.

But while saying the ALC has not determined a position on road pricing, Kilgariff says IAP might be the tool to use because it has been introduced in multiple jurisdictions.

IAP is a GPS tracking device used in Victoria, NSW, Queensland and South Australia, and Kilgariff says the ALC supported its introduction because it was important in getting a national telematics scheme in place.

"We certainly did support the rollout of IAP," he says.

The ALC will hold a forum in February next year and Kilgariff expects the issue of road pricing will be high on the agenda.

"It’s not an issue the industry can sit on the fence [on]," he says.

As well as supporting the BCA’s proposal, Kilgariff says it might be necessary to review competition policy in the transport and logistics sector to improve its cohesiveness.

"The necessity to drive efficiencies in the transport & logistics supply chain becomes critically imperative given recent Treasury estimates that Australia’s population will increase to 35 million by 2050," he says.

"Inconsistent regulation between jurisdictions and red tape only adds considerable and unnecessary costs to Australian consumers and exports."

The BCA’s report, Groundwork for Growth: Building the Infrastructure that Australia Needs, criticised current practices as riddled with poor planning, under-funding, short-term solutions and an unequal focus on separate transport modes.

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