Higher charges possible under freight plan: Ferrier Hodgson

Proposal to reshape Australia's freight task might lead to higher charges for trucking

By Ruza Zivkusic | March 21, 2011

A proposal to reshape Australia’s freight task might lead to higher charges for the trucking industry, according to a transport specialist firm.

Ferrier Hodgson partner Brendan Richards has questioned how the draft blueprint for a national land freight strategy will be implemented.

The document was released by Infrastructure and Transport Minister Anthony Albanese and proposes dedicated road and rail freight infrastructure and an increase in the use of higher productivity vehicles.

"The strategy notes that funding for dedicated freight infrastructure would not necessarily rely on general taxation and therefore either private toll roads or increased registration fees may be required," Richards says.

While the draft study has won industry support, Richards says there is some cynicism because successive government inquiries and reports identifying the need for reform have failed to act on the recommendations.

He says any proposal to increase vehicle access must consider ‘last mile’ issues.

Some transport operators currently need to split loads onto multiple trucks to reach their final destination due to local government restrictions on higher productivity vehicles.

"Simply restating the same well-versed objectives is unlikely to garner the enduring support of the industry unless the public consultation process leads to a well articulated and fully costed response to these issues," Richards says.

"Without this, it is difficult to see how these initiatives can avoid being once again consigned to the ‘too hard’ basket."

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