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First/Last Mile Strategy
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ALGA strongly supports the Australian Government’s focus on improved productivity through investment in infrastructure. The efficient movement of freight is essential in a productive economy and targeted investment and regulatory reform across the different transport modes are important to ensure that our freight moves in a timely way and by the most appropriate mode, whether by ship, rail, pipeline, air or road.

Local roads are a critical part of the local, regional, state and national transport network. However, with increased demand including higher productivity heavy vehicles, many local roads are no longer fit-for-purpose. Additional targeted investment is needed to unlock local and regional productivity by improving access for freight vehicles and connectivity between local roads and preferred state and national freight routes. This is sometimes referred to as the first and last mile challenge.

Addressing this challenge is a national, state and industry matter and local government needs access to an initial five-year funding grant program to effectively play its role in providing a national transport network fit for purpose and capable of supporting growth and national productivity.

Local Freight Productivity Investment Plan

Local government proposes a Productivity Investment Plan to facilitate increased freight access on local roads by addressing current barriers to effective implementation of the Heavy Vehicle National Law. The plan would address the following gaps in the existing system and capability:

Systems gaps. Local government must work with the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator and jurisdictions to enhance the heavy vehicle access permit system, including addressing the following systems gaps:

  • all relevant route and vehicle information needs to be provided to local government road managers;
  • local government staffing capacity and administrative systems need to be enhanced to process consents;
  • adequate information on key road assets needs to be developed to inform council decisions;
  • systems developed to share relevant information between neighbouring road managers to avoid discontinuity, and to inform investment decision-making;
  • systems developed to reduce the administrative burden, in particular duplication of decision making.

Planning gaps. Funding for five years to facilitate and support Regional Groups of Councils to liaise with jurisdictions and industry to undertake demand forecasting, some initial route assessment and prioritisation and the development of Regional Freight Plans.

Knowledge gaps. Funding for five years to undertake assessments of key local road assets including up to 24,000 strategic bridges on designated freight routes.

Funding gaps. Funding to address pinch points and improve vital infrastructure that limits capacity on designated freight routes. 

ALGA is proposing this plan be funded at $200 million over five years. ALGA’s analysis shows this investment could unlock over $1 billion in additional GDP and create up to 9500 new jobs.

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