On 18 May 2018, the Hon Michael McCormack MP, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure and Transport, released the report of the Inquiry into National Freight and Supply Chain Priorities.


The report was presented in Darwin at the ministerial Transport and Infrastructure Council meeting.

The Inquiry analysed import-export supply chains, inter/intra state supply chains, urban supply chains and supply chain integration, which included resource and agricultural freight and regional and remote freight. Some of the expert panel members were Marika Calfas (NSW Ports CEO), Maurice James (Qube MD) and Nicole Lockwood (WA Freight and Logistics Council chair).

The final 54 recommended priorities categorised into five critical action areas were the result of 127 submissions and one-on-one meetings with more than 200 people representing 90 businesses and 28 key industry bodies. Many of these were welcomed by the Australasian Railway Association (ARA) and the Australian Trucking Association (ATA).

McCormack said that the report “paves the way for the development of a strategy which improves the competitiveness of Australian businesses and delivers for consumers by making it faster, easier, and less expensive to move goods.

“We know the national freight task will almost double over the next 20 years, which presents a challenge and opportunity to work with industry to maximise the benefit from the sector which already contributes around 10 per cent of our productivity.

“I thank the Panel for its report, which provides a platform for Government to look at opportunities to drive efficient and sustainable freight logistics while balancing the freight needs of a growing economy and ensuring the sector and the community share the benefits too.”

Many transport companies also depend on efficient freight logistics in order to be able to provide a competitive courier quote.

Good news for the Australian Trucking Association (ATA) was a commitment to improving productivity and access. The ATA particularly welcomed a promise to evaluate and streamline permit approvals, with the intention of reducing the processing time on main freight routes down to 24 hours.

Other priorities held in high esteem by the ATA were improving accessibility to roads, particularly last mile access and main freight routes, using road charges income to improving road infrastructure, sealing roads and providing mobile phone coverage and broadband.

Income generated through road charges should be reinvested in road infrastructure and should focus considerably on ensuring satisfactory maintenance.

Ben Maguire, CEO of the Australian Trucking Association said that “the ATA welcomes the report, which shows that Michael McCormack and the Australian Government understand the importance of trucking and the need to make the road freight transport regulations more efficient.”

“The report supports the ATA’s calls for an urgent, independent and agile review of the Heavy Vehicle National Law, including road access approvals.”

Proposed infrastructure investment programs will target oversize overmass vehicles and aims to increase productivity and improve access to roads. Regional supply chains will also be the object of upgraded infrastructure.

“The ATA welcomes the Government’s commitment to improving our national freight and supply chains,” said Maguire, adding that “This expert report will pave the way toward significant reform.”