Initiative 2: Realise the productive potential of Australia’s freight routes

what is the issue?

Bottlenecks and pinchpoints on local road networks are increasing the time it takes for freight to travel from sender to receiver.

why is this important for communities?

More efficient transport routes connecting local businesses to national and global markets can help create more success and economic prosperity for regional communities.

What do we know?

  • The efficient movement of freight is essential in a national economy.
  • Local government roads and bridges in general were designed and built decades ago and are no longer fit for purpose. As a result, vehicle access to parts of the local road network is more limited as road providers try to balance access with protection of the road assets from vehicle damage.
  • The first/last mile problem typically refers to a local road network that is not of the same standard as the major arterial network. This can result in bottlenecks and pinch points that increase the time it takes for freight to travel from sender to receiver.
  • Limited access frequently requires high productivity vehicles to ‘break down’ to smaller configurations at the start or end of the journey. This requires drivers to depart production facilities with only one trailer attached and drive to a suitable assembly point adjacent to an approved high productivity road before returning to collect subsequent trailers, and then assembling it all in a double or triple configuration. This process negates some of the benefits of higher mass limit reforms.
  • The Commonwealth is currently developing a comprehensive national freight strategy that takes an “end-to-end” approach to supporting business supply chains. However, work on the known challenge of first and last mile issues should commence immediately given the extent of the problems that currently restrict freight.
  • Many councils have demonstrated their willingness, capacity and competence to undertake regional planning on behalf of their region. These regional plans could be developed in all regions and can provide the basic building blocks for project identification, prioritisation and investment, to drive productivity improvements across council boundaries and in some cases jurisdictional boundaries.

Local government proposes:

Realise the productive potential of Australia’s freight routes by funding a Local Government Higher Productivity Investment Plan starting at $200 million per annum over five years.

ECONOMIC BENEFIT: $1.66 billion cumulative Gross Domestic Product benefit by year 3 and 2,300 new jobs.

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