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A DECISION by the New South Wales treasurer Dominic Perrottet to consider permanently relaxing operating hours for freight operators has been welcomed by the Australian Logistics Council.

The NSW government, as well as the governments of most Australian states, eased restrictions on truck operating hours during the pandemic in order to ensure supermarkets remained stocked.

There are calls for these relaxed conditions to become permanent.

ALC CEO, Kirk Coningham said the first relaxations that should be made permanent were changes to curfews that prevent the efficient delivery of freight.

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“There is strong community support for permanently locking-in changes made to curfews and other restrictions around freight movement in the wake of COVID-19,” Mr Coningham said.  

He said it was essential that freight operators and retailers retained the flexibility to keep supply chains flowing and noted the increased demand for home delivery of essential items including groceries was likely to endure beyond COVID19.

“Given increasing congestion it also makes sense to have logistics resupply happening outside of times of peak traffic demand,” Mr Coningham said.

ALC chief executive Kirk Coningham. Credit: ALC

“The move by NSW to conduct this evaluation represents national best practice. The ALC calls for other state and territory governments to follow their lead.”

The NSW Budget committed to an infrastructure funding package of $84.2m over the next four years, a 17% increase on last years’ budget, something the ALC also welcomed.

The ALC applauded the commitment to over $17bn for planning reform including digital transformation initiatives is a significant win for the sector.

An integrated ePlanning system is set to enable local councils and state governments to work together to deliver improved planning outcomes and boost economic activity.

The NSW budget explained. Credit: Sky News and YouTube

Regional NSW is set to get a boost via the commitment of $1.8bn to major infrastructure projects.

NSW manufacturers and producers are to be supported via the creation of six new trade and investment hubs.

The ALC welcomed funding allocated towards several key projects in and around the Western Sydney Aerotropolis, including money to “kick start” business cases on the Advanced Manufacturing Research Facility and the New Education Training Model.

“As the Prime Minister announced on 1 October 2020, supporting Australian manufacturers will be key in Australia’s economic recovery,” Mr Coningham said.

The full budget can be viewed here.

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