AN EXPERT three-person advisory panel will advise the NSW government on the development of a new freight strategy for the state.

Minister for transport Jo Haylen has announced Kerry Schott, Lucio Di Bartolomeo and Hermione Parsons will provide independent advice to Transport for NSW as it delivers “prioritised and practical policy reform on the current and emerging challenges facing the NSW freight task”.

The policy reform will focus on the different parts of the supply chain, with ports, rail, road and intermodal facilities all considered as part of a coordinated supply chain to determine the right policy framework to optimise safety, sustainability and productivity, the government said.

Immediate priorities for the panel will include consideration of the determination of compensation to be paid by the Port of Newcastle for increasing container operations as part of NSW port policy.

The panel will also review and consult with industry on the recommendations made by Ed Willett’s review of the port regulatory framework and the regulation of the movement of containers at Port Botany (the PBLIS).

The program will identify short, medium and long-term actions for government to support the ongoing improvement of freight transport across NSW. There will be comprehensive stakeholder consultation undertaken as part of the program, the first phase of which will follow release of a discussion paper and is expected to occur in in the first quarter of next year. 

Ms Haylen said a more productive freight sector could deliver reduced costs for businesses and lower retail prices for ordinary people right across NSW.

“Our freight network is still too disjointed and inefficient with policy and infrastructure bottlenecks right across the supply chain,” she said.

“I am pleased to be able to announce the beginning of this significant reform agenda to inform government policy and provide an evidence-based action plan that will optimise the freight transport network in NSW.”