MEDIA CENTRE

ALC Statement on the Infrastructure and Transport Ministers’ Meeting of 28 May 2021

Statement – 28 May 2021

The Australian Logistics Council (ALC) believe the results of the Infrastructure and Transport Ministers Meeting (ITMM) held on 28 May 2021 was a mixed bag for the transport and logistics industry and accelerated reform is required to best support industry to meet the challenges of tomorrow.

National Urban Freight Planning Principles

ALC is pleased the ITMM have endorsed the proposed National Urban Freight Planning Principles, which form an integral part of the National Freight and Supply Chain Strategy.

ALC would like commitment that these Planning Principles are kept under constant review so they capture the changes needed as industry and community needs change.

For example, the next iteration of the Principles should include planning instruments to facilitate the operation and refuelling requirements of electric and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles.

ALC will continue to monitor how well the jurisdictions adopt these Principles into their planning documentation, so the continuous efficient and safe movement of freight from despatch point to delivery location can be achieved.

Heavy Vehicle National Law Review

ALC believes the ITMM have missed an opportunity to advance the safe operation of heavy vehicles by failing to fully endorse inclusion of the National Operating Standard proposed by ALC into the Heavy Vehicle National Law (HVNL).

However, ALC welcomes the intention for the National Transport Commission to develop further advice on the development of assurance schemes for the purposes of the Heavy Vehicle National Law.  ALC sees this as being integral to improving productivity and safety outcomes.

National Rail Action Plan

ALC welcomes the creation of a National Rails Skills Hub, designed to encourage the development of the skills needed to build and operate the national rail network. This will assist in alleviating the skills shortage in the rail sector identified at the Inland Rail Conference conducted by ALC and the Australasian Railways Association in Albury-Wodonga on 27-28 May 2021.

Heavy Vehicle Road Reform

ALC is disappointed with the slow pace of  reform to the Heavy Vehicle Road Reform (HVRR), which is designed to reform the method of determining the road user charges to be imposed on heavy vehicles.

The current timetable suggests there will be a ‘cascading, and not concurrent commencement to any reform’, and that governments ‘may decide at any time whether to continue on the pathway, and whether to ultimately participate in the reformed system’.

As ALC recently told the Senate Economics Legislation Committee, it has been disappointed by the speed in which the HVRR has been developed.

It argued steps should be taken to establish a pathway for the development of a road user charge capable of being applied to all classes of vehicle to ensure Australia’s vital road infrastructure is maintained and grows.

National co-ordination on uptake of zero emission vehicles

ALC is pleased Ministers have agreed to aim towards national co-ordination of zero emission vehicles uptake.

National consistency in road user charging forms part of this coordination process.

ALC reaffirms its view expressed to the Senate Economics Committee that the recommendation contained in the NSW Review of Federal Financial Relations: Supporting the Road for Recovery Report for the development of a nationally compatible and road user charging scheme, with electric vehicle charging used as the pilot, be adopted.[1]

The ITMM should be responsible for oversighting this exercise, with some of the learnings from such an exercise could then perhaps be applied to the somewhat stalled HVRR process.

ALC will continue to argue the comprehensive road user charge reform should be picked up by the ITMM as a matter of priority.

Adoption of Conran principles

Finally, the ITMM said it has adopted guidelines in response to the Conran Review of COAG Councils and Ministerial Forums that will guide its decision making.

ALC particularly notes recommendation 20 of the Review, which recommended that items on a meeting agenda should be implemented or resolved within 12 months.

ALC believed that issue resolution under the former Transport and Infrastructure Council (TIC) system was too slow.

In the context of this meeting, ALC will therefore be expecting that within a 12 month period:

  • jurisdictions will be able to show progress in the implementation of the National Urban Freight Planning Principles; and
  • the National Transport Commission will be able to provide recommendations on the key areas of reform identified in the communique capable of immediate implementation, if adopted by the ITMM. within the 12 month period expected by the Meeting.

 

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