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TRANSPORT ministers from around the region met last week to discuss important issues in the sector.

The 15th Infrastructure and Transport Ministers’ Meeting took place on Friday, with a communique noting that they had endorsed the National Urban Freight Planning Principles, which form an integral part of the National Freight and Supply Chain Strategy.

The ITMM also agreed a roadmap for implementing a national safety framework for automated vehicles, and voiced support of the National Road Safety Strategy 2021-30.

The Australian Logistics Council said the results of the meeting were a “mixed bag” for the transport and logistics industry. It said accelerated reform is required to best support industry to meet the challenges of the future.

ALC said it is pleased the ITMM endorsed the proposed National Urban Freight Planning Principles, which form an integral part of the National Freight and Supply Chain Strategy.

“ALC would like commitment that these Planning Principles are kept under constant review so they capture the changes needed as industry and community needs change,” the organisation said.

“For example, the next iteration of the principles should include planning instruments to facilitate the operation and refuelling requirements of electric and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles.

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“ALC will continue to monitor how well the jurisdictions adopt these principles into their planning documentation, so the continuous efficient and safe movement of freight from despatch point to delivery location can be achieved.”

However, the ALC said it believed the ITMM missed an opportunity to advance the safe operation of heavy vehicles by failing to fully endorse inclusion of the National Operating Standard proposed by ALC into the Heavy Vehicle National Law (HVNL).

“However, ALC welcomes the intention for the National Transport Commission to develop further advice on the development of assurance schemes for the purposes of the Heavy Vehicle National Law.  ALC sees this as being integral to improving productivity and safety outcomes.”

But the ALC said it was disappointed with the slow pace of reform to the Heavy Vehicle Road Reform (HVRR), which is designed to reform the method of determining the road user charges to be imposed on heavy vehicles.

“The current timetable suggests there will be a ‘cascading, and not concurrent commencement to any reform’, and that governments ‘may decide at any time whether to continue on the pathway, and whether to ultimately participate in the reformed system’,” the ALC said.

“As ALC recently told the Senate Economics Legislation Committee, it has been disappointed by the speed in which the HVRR has been developed.”

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