2020 End of Year Statement

We are one year into the National Freight and Supply Chain Strategy, and it is encouraging to see progress well underway.

Work throughout 2020, while being a challenging year, has set the foundation for the remaining 19 years of the Strategy. Significant milestones were met, with the appointment of the first members of the Freight Industry Reference Panel (the Panel), the release of the Strategy’s first annual report, and refresh of several jurisdictions’ implementation plans.

2020 also saw many achievements in each of the four action areas:

  1. Smarter and targeted infrastructure investment:
    • The Australian Government has begun designs of a ‘Round 5A’ of the Mobile Blackspots Project to include a focus on major transport corridors and in disaster-prone regions.
    • The South Australian Government completed a six-lane, 15.5 kilometre motorway providing a vita freight and commuter link between the Northern Expressway, South Road Superway and Port River Expressway.
    • The Victorian Government completed the Port Infrastructure Pricing and Access Review.
    • The first section of Inland Rail between Parkes and Narromine was completed.
    • Completion of the first section of Inland Rail between Parkes and Narromine.
    • Further planning, investment and the commencement of major earthworks at Western Sydney Airport.
  2. Enable improved supply chain efficiency:
    • Infrastructure and Transport Ministers endorsed the National Rail Action Plan, which focuses on interoperability, common standards/harmonisation, skills and labour.
    • The Tasmanian Government has begun delivering the Real Time Traffic Congestion Management System to provide better information for traffic managers and road users through the use of traffic monitoring technology.
    • The New South Wales Government completed Stage 1 of the $600 million M4 Smart Motorway Project.
  3. Better planning, regulation and coordination:
    • The Australian Government launched a ‘congestion busting’ project to reduce unnecessary delays in environmental approvals.
    • National Cabinet agreed to the Freight Movements Protocol in response to the COVID-19 pandemic to ensure freight continues to flow across borders safely.
  4. Better freight location and performance data:
    • The Australian Government consulted with a wide range of potential users of the National Data Hub, including through a public discussion paper and interviews, to settle the detailed design of the Hub.
    • The Australian Government commissioned a pilot study to develop a methodology for benchmarking our supply chains against international competitors.

Looking ahead, the Panel has identified the primary goal for 2021 is to improve the collection and use of consistent national freight data. Data collection methods that have the ability to measure freight movements by mode through supply chains will produce a truly multi-modal approach to freight infrastructure and planning. National freight data will be fundamental in tracking performance of the National Freight and Supply Chain Strategy against future key performance indicators for each action area of the strategy, a development that the Panel is keen to progress through 2021.

We look forward to continuing to work with governments and industry over the coming years to ratchet up ambition and deliver real results through the National Freight and Supply Chain Strategy.

John Fullerton, Chair

Sophie Finemore, Member

Nicole Lockwood, Member

Peter Garske, Member

Brett Charlton, Member