The Australian Logistics Council (ALC) supports New South Wales government’s plan to move forth with council amalgamations that it hopes will improve the efficiency of the state’s supply chain by streamlining delivery of freight to local areas.
Council amalgamations will also improve the ‘delivery of major infrastructure, achieve more efficient service delivery and help to better integrate strategic planning and policy’
ALC managing director Michael Kilgariff says the NSW freight task is expected to double in size by 2031 to about 800 million tonnes and “it is imperative NSW’s supply chains are operating at peak efficiency to ensure freight can be delivered efficiency, reliably and safely”.
The logistics industry had earlier raised its concerns to the Independent Pricing & Regulatory Tribunal (IPART) about councils either not having the capacity to make timely decisions on heavy vehicle road access, or being too conservative during decision-making by prioritising asset protection over productivity considerations.
“Because of a lack of size, many local government areas do not have the skills and resources, or alternatively, do not prioritise the task of undertaking, or obtaining, the engineering assessments necessary to make informed road access decisions,” Kilgariff says.
“All too often, and to the frustration of industry, councils take different approaches to such things as ‘last mile’ access, the loading and unloading of goods, delivery curfews and other restrictions which impact on the efficient movement of freight.
“Merging councils would not only bring with it economies of scale, it would underpin better decision making on such matters as road access decisions, particularly as they related to ‘first and last mile’ issues, as well as planning and curfews,” Kilgariff says.
The move is also expected to improve the “delivery of major infrastructure, achieve more efficient service delivery and help to better integrate strategic planning and policy”.
Reports suggest that improved freight efficiency also indirectly benefits the consumers because it reduces the costs of transportation of goods to supermarkets, which in turn lowers the price of products.
An earlier study conducted by the IPART estimated that heavy vehicle access restrictions cost $366 million per year in NSW and improving road access for heavy vehicles can reduce red tape by $59.2 million per year.
ACIL Allen, the largest Australian-owned, independent, economic, public policy, and public affairs management consulting firm in the country, published a similar view in a recent report entitled The Economic Significance of the Australian Logistics Industry.
The ACIL Allen study indicates that an annual 1 per cent improvement in productivity in the logistics industry can boost the GDP by $2 billion.