Tuesday 13th Nov, 2018

SPECIAL REPORT: South Australia

Image: Shutterstock
Image: Shutterstock

TURNING Adelaide’s primary freight routes into 24/7 clearways to cut congestion and improve economic benefits for South Australia is key to a major blueprint document announced by the state’s peak transport industry lobby group.

The South Australian Freight Council (SAFC) recently launched Regulating Freight 2017, its future plan for transport and logistics industry regulation.

It calls on both the Commonwealth and state governments to overhaul current regulations to deliver improved economic growth for South Australia.

“South Australia is facing many new challenges as it confronts a changing economic structure and climate,” SAFC executive officer, Evan Knapp, has said.

“Old industries are in decline. New industries are developing. Technology is rapidly changing the way we do business and the systems and equipment that is available to our industry,” he said.

“An efficient regulatory environment for the transport and logistics sector will benefit all business through reduced cost structures; and every household through reduced costs for consumer goods.

Regulating Freight 2017 provides a blueprint for how transport regulation should be reformed by governments and transport regulators, and highlights specific urgently required transport regulatory reforms.

‘‘A ‘step change’ is needed in regulatory thinking for the transport industry, to free us to deliver lower costs to consumers and SA’s exporters, as well as better safety outcomes, particularly on our roads.

“In particular, the freight transport industry is looking for improved access for high productivity vehicles across South Australia. While it might sound counterintuitive, bigger trucks save lives by reducing total truck numbers; and also deliver productivity and environmental gains for the benefit of the broader economy.”

Mr Knapp said a major priority of Regulating Freight 2017 was the removal of roadside parking on key freight corridors and major traffic routes (as defined by DPTI’s Functional Hierarchy for SA’s Land Transport Network) to alleviate congestion.

He said travel time surveys showed consistent decline in traffic flows across the board with RAA travel time surveys finding the average travel time along South Road (an important arterial) to be 41km/h in the afternoon peak in 1996, compared with just 27km/h in 2016.

Main North Road afternoon peak speeds are understood to have declined from 35km/h to 27km/h during the same time period.

“Parked cars effectively remove a full lane for extensive lengths on some key corridors   and international transport research backs this approach,” Mr Knapp said.

“SAFC is proposing a four year transition time to full 24/7 clearway operation, however morning and evening peak clearways should be implemented immediately,” he said.

Priorities outlined in Regulating Freight 2017 include:

  • Improved access for high productivity vehicles and working with industry to  reinvestigate appropriate heavy vehicle charging regimes;
  • Improving planning and strategy development through greater industry consultation and participation in the development of crucial strategies affecting the industry;
  • Implementing proposed amendments to the Coastal Trading Act to remove complexity, while ensuring there is no undue skewing of the competitive environment between the modes;
  • Reducing delays on key freight routes caused by roadside parking and cyclists by extending clearway times and funnelling cyclists onto adjacent corridors wherever practical;
  • Facilitating the use of newer, quieter aircraft during the Adelaide Airport Curfew;
  • Introducing an accelerated depreciation scheme aimed at improving transport safety outcomes and lowering total transport emissions;
  • Reducing the forklift operating age from 18 to 16 years and introducing competency based licensing assessment;
  • Clarifying chain of responsibility roles and improving safety outcomes through police reporting;
  • Merging access regimes to improve port and rail infrastructure access and development;
  • Harmonising Customs Laws with Australian and International Standards; and
  • Ensuring that mechanisms are in place to identify future regulatory needs and address emerging regulatory issues and opportunities.

“The transport and logistics industry underpins every aspect of our state economy – every business requires inputs, and the majority also require our services to deliver products to customers and end consumers,” Mr Knapp said.

“Efficient, effective and safe regulation of transport activities is a competitive advantage that as a state (and nation) we cannot afford to ignore,” he said.

“A 2010 study commissioned by SAFC concluded that a 10% efficiency improvement could increase Gross State Product annually by $810 million and result in the order of 8500 new jobs; and more recent national studies have broadly agreed.

“Getting transport and logistics regulation right is an opportunity to big to ignore.”

In a prepared statement, SAFC chairman Phil Baker said industry needed a supportive regulatory environment “so that we can continue to introduce innovative products to new customers and continue to provide value into our existing markets”.

“We need to be able to access our markets efficiently and effectively, and we need a regulatory regime that is light handed in its approach and does not stifle entrepreneurial business opportunities. Only then will our economy prosper and evolve,” Mr Baker said.

“Whilst we have seen encouraging progress in addressing some of the regulatory issues that SAFC raised in its 2008 Regulating Freight document, several issues remain to be addressed, and in an ever revolving cycle, new issues have emerged that must now be dealt with. Moreover, there are new, fast approaching industry developments which will require new regulation with thorough assessment and planning.”

Mr Baker said the South Australian Government’s 90 Day Project for Improving Road Transport for the Agriculture Industry had enjoyed success in addressing some heavy vehicle access issues.

“The transport and logistics industry in this State and nation needs more of this positive ‘can do’ approach, and we believe that this focus on regulatory constraints could be readily introduced to other industry sectors and other modes of transport.”

From the print edition August 24, 2017

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