Asciano CEO and managing director John Mullen has called on government and industry to work closely together toward a more integrated and efficient national freight network that takes account of Australia’s unique logistics challenges.
Mr Mullen highlighted three key areas of focus:
- Implementing a national freight network master plan that provides a long-term roadmap for an efficient supply chain;
- Ensuring new freight infrastructure investment is directed where it will have the greatest benefit; and
- Moving toward seamless national regulation and ensuring the private sector continues to play a role in improved supply chain outcomes.
1. Freight Network Master Plan
Mr Mullen said that as a nation, we need a 30-year integrated national freight master plan to ensure we set a clear pathway toward an efficient, productive and integrated national freight network.
“Freight and infrastructure investments are long cycle plays and the private sector needs certainty and long-term direction if it is to have a leading role in funding and operating Australia’s freight network.
“We must establish a clear destination – where we want to be in 20-30 years – and set out the infrastructure priorities to reach this destination. As part of this, we must establish and set priority projects and five-year targets to measure progress as we move forward. While the private sector and all levels of government have a role to play, the Federal Government must take a central role.”
2. Infrastructure Investment
Mr Mullen acknowledged the important role Infrastructure Australia needs to play in maximising the benefit of new freight infrastructure investment and maintaining alignment with long-term freight network plans.
“We conduct endless debate about major infrastructure investment but see glacial progress in actually implementing such investment. We need to work to a master plan with clearly identified freight network corridors, develop an independent and bipartisan process for the review and approval of new projects, and then move beyond electoral cycles in delivering our stated infrastructure plans.
“We support the current proposed changes to Infrastructure Australia but believe they could go further.”
3. Regulation and the Private Sector
Mr Mullen said state and federal governments must continue to look to reduce red tape and address inefficiencies in our freight industries.
“We support the Federal Government’s commitment to reducing the regulatory burden and the goal of cutting $1 billion in red tape. The greatest opportunity for eliminating inefficiency in our industry is in those areas where both state and federal regulation is imposed. Freight is a national issue and as such we need to pursue integrated national standards rather than separate state-based regulation.
“It is also important the private sector continues to participate as a collective voice and embraces technology and innovation to help build Australia’s infrastructure of the future.”