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Infrastructure Australia’s (IA) recent paper, Corridor Protection: Planning and investing for the long term, outlines the case for securing and protecting land corridors for future infrastructure projects. They stress that a relatively modest investment today can pay substantial dividends tomorrow.

ALGA has always strongly advocated for more integrated transport planning and so we support the report. However, it doesn't stress enough the importance of first and last mile issues we know enable freight to get to its destination, people to get to work, and raw materials to get to on-shore and off-shore markets.

According to the National Transport Commission (NTC), road freight grew six-fold over the period 1971 to 2007. The freight task is projected to double by 2030 and treble by 2050. This growth is an indicator of the economic activity that we must begin to plan for today. We must ask ourselves:

  • What are the transport goals and what services are required to foster growth, jobs and prosperity?
  • Where are investments required to achieve these goals?

Many councils are already answering these tough questions by investing in regional transport plans that identify key transport routes and linkages, and investment opportunities at the local and regional level. However, for this work to have the impact required to make productivity gains across the country, local government needs additional support from the Commonwealth. ALGA continues to call for a federal investment of $200 million per annum over five years to establish a Local Freight Productivity Investment Plan to partner with local councils and ensure that first mile/last mile and freight connectivity issues are addressed to improve national productivity.

As well as road reform and additional funding requirements, road managers need to work in partnership with transport operators and other levels of government to provide roads and road services that are fit for purpose.

A business-as-usual approach will not address this issue. As emphasised by IA, we must make the right infrastructure decisions today to accommodate and meet our growing freight task, increase productivity, create jobs and help create the transport infrastructure for the future prosperity of our nation.

These are some of the key messages ALGA will include in its submission to the National Freight and Supply Chain Inquiry currently being undertaken by the federal government.  Submissions are due by 28 July 2017 and I encourage all councils to join us and independently make a submission identifying their first and last mile freight priorities. 

More information about the Inquiry and how to make a submission is available on the Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development website. The email address for submission is: freightstrategy@infrastructure.gov.au. Make sure your team is on to it.

See you on the road,

 

Mayor David O’Loughlin

   ALGA President



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