THE National Road Transport Association has told a New South Wales economic inquiry that any moves to stop city congestion must not delay the movement of freight.

NatRoad chief executive Warren Clark said Australian cities were key centres of demand, supply and processing of freight, but are bottlenecks that suffer from congestion.

“Land-use planning does not consider the movement of freight and imposes red tape on freight operations,” Mr Clark said.

“During this pandemic, we should be concentrating on measures which cut that red tape.”

NatRoad has made a submission to the New South Wales Review of Federal Financial Relations, entitled Supporting the Road to Recovery.

In the submission, NatRoad reinforces that urban congestion is largely the result of light vehicle movements.

“Any process or trial that is instituted to combat congestion should preference freight, with operations often occurring outside peak times, and discourage light vehicle use, especially during peak times,” Mr Clark said.

“The time is ripe for reinforcing the essential work that the freight industry does for the community.”

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He said the current pandemic has underlined that governments should not impose unnecessary curfews and regulatory restrictions on heavy vehicle movements.

“NatRoad wants an efficient freight supply chain, which is able to operate 24 hours, seven days a week on an appropriately identified and maintained network,” he said.

“Requiring heavy vehicles to travel only during daylight hours or in certain specified time periods over less-than-optimal routes impedes productivity, increases operating costs and adds to road congestion, particularly along major routes to key ports or airports that are shared with light vehicles.”

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