VICTORIAN Transport Association chief executive officer Peter Anderson has called for the introduction of a Victorian Freight Authority to advise government on transport and logistics.
Speaking at the VTA state conference in Lorne, Mr Anderson said he advocated policy that supported operators to be successful in business, whether via road, rail and port infrastructure.
“The requirements of operators need to be factored early on in decisions being made by regulators and legislators, which is why are pushing for the creation of an authority like this to ensure your unique needs are being looked after,” he said.
Mr Anderson said the past 12 months had seen cost increases impact road transport operators.
“We’ve had infrastructure surcharge increases from all the stevedores in Melbourne and elsewhere around the country, road charges are increasing exponentially whether it be fuel and excises, registration, insurance and tolls, and the threat of industrial action throughout many sectors of the economy is arguably the greatest it’s been for a long time, as we saw over Christmas at Webb Dock,” Mr Anderson said.
“Indeed, the possibility of future super unions like we’ve seen with the merger of the CFMEU and MUA could have far-reaching negative impacts on employers and supply chains nationally.”
Mr Anderson noted factors in higher costs.
“In year’s gone past, operators would typically wear the increases rather than risk losing business to competitors. We need to shift this attitude and educate not only customers, but consumers as well, that increases in costs are going to be passed on through the supply chain, and ultimately to the end users of the goods transported by operators,” he said.
“If we don’t do this there’s a real risk that operators will not have cost recovery increases accepted and will therefore go under, which is not good for anyone.”
Mr Anderson said community amenity continued to be a big issue, albeit there had been progress.
“We are getting closer to a really encouraging outcome with resident groups in the inner west of Melbourne near the port who for some time have been concerned about the impacts of heavy vehicle movements,” he said.
Mr Anderson also described the volume of new road and rail infrastructure projects in Victoria.
“One of the biggest is the Metro Tunnel project which will increase rail capacity for passenger commuters in Melbourne, and help to ease congestion for the benefit of freight operators. Another is the Inland Rail project which will transform supply chains across the country.”
The VTA State Conference was disrupted on its first morning by protesters opposed to ICTSI and its Melbourne operation Victoria International Container Terminal.
Similar protests recently occurred at an Australian Logistics Council event in Sydney.