The congestion in Australia’s cities is mainly due to motorists in their cars, not truckies in their cabs, the Minister for Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government, Anthony Albanese, told Parliament.
“The Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Economics estimates that urban congestion will cost nearly $20 billion by 2015,” Mr Albanese said.
“With the freight task set to double by 2020, the greatest impact will be in urban areas, particularly around our ports, our intermodal terminals and our distribution centres.
“However, a policy for moving goods will not work without a policy for moving people. It is motorists in their cars, much more than truckies in their cabs, that are clogging our cities.
“Freight must be able to move seamlessly, not be slowed down when moving from the farm gate to the kitchen table and from the mines to the ports,” he said.
Mr Albanese announced that the National Transport Commission (NTC) is working on providing him with advice about developing a national transport policy framework.
The ATA believes the minister’s approach has the potential to deliver results for motorists, the trucking industry and the broader economy.
There needs to be a substantial investment in urban roads. But the Government also needs a policy framework that will emphasise the need for better traffic management, including truck priority lanes on the links to major ports and intermodal facilities.
Members of the ATA Board have already met with the NTC to discuss the policy framework. The ATA is continuing to provide information to the commission as it continues its work.
The comments come on the heels of widespread agreement at the recent Australian Logistics Council Annual Forum amongst members of the freight industry as well as freight users, including Woolworths CEO Michael Luscombe who has called for urgent action on resolving Australian transport bottlenecks.