Australian Logistics Council MD Michael Kilgariff.
The Australian Logistics Council (ALC) has listed five critical projects that the incoming Abbott government must deliver to improve productivity and efficiency in the freight logistics industry.
MD Michael Kilgariff says the first critical task is to strengthen the role of Infrastructure Australia, in particular, to ensure it has the ability to rigorously analyse proposed infrastructure projects and to facilitate greater levels of private sector investment in key road and rail projects.
"The private sector has signalled its appetite to invest more in infrastructure assets - the challenge before governments is to capitalise on this interest and to use the funds raised to invest in key infrastructure projects."
He says the second critical task is to progress two major freight infrastructure projects - an inland rail line linking Brisbane Port to the Port of Melbourne and the construction of an airport at Badgery's Creek in Sydney.
"With forecasts showing Australia's freight task tripling by 2050, it is time to deliver on these nation-building projects to ensure we are well prepared to meet future freight growth."
He lists the third priority as the reduction of red tape and regulatory overlap which adds to compliance costs, restricts freight efficiency and impedes industry's efforts to invest to improve productivity.
"At the top of the list is the proposed review of the Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal which is needed to ensure there is no regulatory duplication with other pieces of legislation, such as the Heavy Vehicle National Law and OHS legislation.
"We would also like to see a review of the shipping laws which were brought in by the previous government to test whether they are impeding the efficient operation of the coastal trade."
Kilgariff says the fourth priority is to deliver on a number of key infrastructure projects designed to improve freight movements in and out of ports, including important rail projects that will link Port Botany in Sydney to the wider rail network.
Lastly, he calls on the new government to continue the push towards a road-pricing scheme that collects the efficient cost of providing, maintaining and operating roads used by heavy vehicles so as to create an incentive to invest in roads.
"ALC hopes the new government will use the results of the work being undertaken as part of the Heavy Vehicle Charging and Investment Reform project to develop a price so the right truck is on the right road, while not distorting the choice of customers as to the mode of transport used to carry goods."