THE Australian Logistics Council welcomed the NSW budget brought down on Tuesday as a step towards both the reduction of red tape as well as investment in the critical infrastructure that will keep freight moving in and around the state.
ALC welcomed the promise in the Treasurer’s budget speech to report every six months on the progress in implementing contents of the NSW Productivity Commission’s white paper.
However, ALC interim CEO Rachel Smith said, “one thing that was missing from the budget with indication of the progress of the whole-of-government evaluation on the costs and benefits of permanently removing regulations relaxed at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, such as curfews restricting the movement of freight. The evaluation was an important feature of the last budget.
“It is therefore important the state of the evaluation process should be reported on as part of the Budget and not in six months’ time. ALC hopes that progress can be reported through the Estimates Committee process,” Ms Smith said.
“ALC hopes that progress can be reported through the Estimates Committee process.”
The $108.5 billion infrastructure program announced in the budget was also supported, particularly investment in:
- the Sydney Gateway motorway connecting the WestConnex St Peter’s Interchange to the Airport and Port Botany Precinct, which will play an important role in improving freight access to and from the State’s principal ports; and
- the Parkes Special Activation Precinct, which will facilitate the efficient operation of the Inland Rail project and so allow rail to take an increasing amount of the freight share, removing pressure on NSW’s roads.
However, Ms Smith cautioned the government against over promising and under delivering on infrastructure commitments.
“The Treasurer has been reported in the press as asking who would have thought the biggest issue for industry on the ground is labour and skill shortage,” she said.
“So that industry can make plans, it is imperative that the government keeps the community abreast of any delays in infrastructure development arising from workforce constraints.”
ALC also welcomed investment to implement the Electricity Infrastructure Roadmap designed to ensure that private investment is attracted in new generation, storage, firming, and electricity network infrastructure by 2030.
Ms Smith said, “With the development of the government’s recently announced Electricity Vehicle Strategy, it is important that the electricity grid has sufficient stability to ensure that the community transition from energy generated by fossil fuels can occur a seamless manner, without dislocation caused by power shortages”.
One disappointing aspect of the Budget was the absence to address the failure to meet the target of increasing the share of freight moved from Port Botany by rail to 28% of the total by 2021.
Ms Smith said, “The intention behind the target is to significantly reduce the number of heavy vehicles on Sydney’s roads, and so reduce the impacts congestion has on productivity. It is imperative the Government take immediate steps to ensure this long long-missed target is actually met.”