ROAD safety would be improved by moving freight off the asphalt highway and onto the blue highway, Ports Australia CEO Mike Gallacher said today.
He said the quickest, simplest and cheapest way to improve the safety of our roads is to get unnecessary freight off the roads.
“Australia is an island nation with ports up and down our coastline connecting every major town and city to each other via the blue highway,” he said.
“Our ports are there, they are connected and they are open for business and we need the government to see that and start using this country’s freight network effectively.”
Mr Gallacher continued, saying shipping is by far the most economical and environmentally sound way of moving freight.
“We have to start removing unnecessary truck movements off the roads that we all use and not rely simply on extra regulation and new technology,” he said.
“The government is developing a National Freight and Supply Chain Strategy and if we are serious about improving safety on our roads and functioning better as a country then shipping has to be a central pillar.”
Mr Gallacher noted that better utilisation of ports around the country would not only result in a positive safety outcome for country and regional roads, it would also create job opportunities, particularly in regional communities.
“We need a strategy that reflects the flexibility of roads, the connectivity of rail and the capacity of our ports,” he said.
According to the latest report on road deaths released by the Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Economics (BITRE), there were 129 road deaths across Australia in December 2017.
This figure is 25% higher than the average for December over the past five years.
Over the 12 months to December 2017, there were 1225 road deaths; a decrease of about 5% on the same period in 2016.