Government launches review into national transport reforms
The Council of Australian Governments (COAG) has tasked the Productivity Commission to conduct a review into the far-reaching transport reforms, with a focus on the safety and efficiency of the national freight network. The COAG looks to establish a national regulatory system. The transform reform was designed to provide productivity gains for the economy while reducing the compliance burden on the transport industry via cutting fees and duplication of work. The Productivity Commission will look at whether the initiative is actually delivering productivity benefits and safety. The Commission is due to report to Government within twelve months of commencement. It will undertake broad public consultation, and invite public submissions.
Michael McCormack, the Federal Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development, said that the request to the Commission includes a review of the economic impacts of the COAG reforms to establish the national maritime regulator, the national heavy vehicle regulator and the national rail safety regulator and investigation system.
“With many COAG transport reforms in place and operating for a number of years, now is the time to examine whether they are working in a way which boosts productivity and promotes safety,” Mr McCormack said.
The minister wants to ensure that “the reforms are working as they were designed to” and that it “can continue to support the transport industry to create jobs and opportunities for Australians into the future and keep goods moving around the country efficiently and safely.” Mr McCormack goes on to say that the reform is a tool that can help shape the future regulations in Australia, ensuring the safety and efficiency of truck drivers, train drivers and transport companies
The Australian Logistics Council (ALC) has welcomed the review, claiming that it proves to be a great opportunity to improve the efficiency and safety of freight movement in Australia. The CEO, Kirk Cunningham says that “with Australia’s national freight task rapidly growing due to population increases and increasing demand for Australia’s export goods, it is critical to ensure the regulatory frameworks around freight transport are delivering the best possible outcomes for the sector and for consumers.”
A one per cent increase in supply chain efficiency is worth $2 billion to the economy. Mr Coninham says “Accordingly, we must take every opportunity to ensure our regulatory settings are enabling efficiency improvements,”
In 2011, the COAG reduced the number of national transport regulators from 23 down to three, which has undoubtedly helped to reduce administrative complexities for freight logistics operators.