Industry groups urge COAG to back transport reforms

The trucking and rail lobbies have urged COAG to use its meeting next week to agree to national regulators

December 4, 2009

The peak trucking and rail lobbies have put in their final calls to the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) to approve national regulators at its meeting on Monday next week.

The nation’s leaders will decide whether to support single regulator for the trucking and rail industries. Under the system, the jurisdiction hosting the regulator will make the laws and other states and territories will implement them.

Australia Trucking Association (ATA) Chairman Trevor Martyn says one regulator will result in seamless chain of responsibility laws throughout the country.

"It’s vitally important that COAG reaches a decision about this important issue on Monday, so the national transport reform process can continue without delay," he says.

The Australasian Railway Association (ARA) says reform is vital to the future of the rail sector as it expands.

The ARA meanwhile says Monday will become the most important date in Australian rail regulatory reform history if the country’s Premiers and the Prime Minister approve the National Safety Regulator.

ARA CEO Brian Nye says a single regulator, which will be based in South Australia, will cut "costly red tape" through a single interface to allow the rail industry to deal with a growing freight task.

"The ability to share data, experience and knowledge across one national body will also support continued improvements in rail safety," he says.

COAG will also determine the location of where the trucking regulator should be based. Queensland, Victoria and NSW have expressed interest in the role.

"The host state will be responsible for passing the national truck laws, and the national regulator will be one of its statutory authorities," Martyn says.

The Australian Logisitics Council (ALC) has echoed the calls made by the lobby groups, saying every 1 percent in efficiency will save the country $1.5 billion.

"ALC has written to the Prime Minister and other COAG members strongly encouraging them to endorse the transport reforms recommended by the 6 November 2009 ATC meeting", ALC CEO Michael Kilgariff says.

he sees increasing efficiency in the transport and logistics sector is vital considering Treasury estimates predict Australia's population to reach 35 million by 2050.

"Australia’s freight task has more than doubled over the last 20 years and is expected to almost double again by 2020," Kilgariff says.

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