Last week, the Federal Minister, the Hon Anthony Albanese, was the opening speaker at the annual conference of the Australian Logisitics Council.
Minister Gay also gave a major speech at the same conference and it was striking how much the two Ministers agree on the economic importance of freight.
Minister Albanese told the crowd that freight and logistics is a critical industry for Australian in the global economy.
“You link our farms and our factories, our mines and ports and our cities.
You connect our businesses to markets around the nation and the world, including the booming Asian region.
We must be as connected as possible to emerging markets.
If we want to be competitive abroad we need to be efficient at home …
As a government and an industry, we’ve got to get this right.
For us to succeed in the global supply chain, our domestic supply chain must be integrated, productive and efficient.”
Minister Gay was signing directly from the same hymn sheet, emphasising that an efficient freight industry is a critical part of the O’Farrell Government’s plans to ‘make NSW number one again’.
Both Ministers talked about the need for governments to have credible, long-term infrastructure plans.
Minister Albanese pointed to the draft National Freight Strategy and National Port Strategy as his ‘road map’ for future investment and better infrastructure planning.
Minister Gay announced that NSW will release for consultation a draft 20 year Port and Freight Strategy Plan by June this year.
Minister Gay also hinted at a new funding program that’s in the pipeline: called ‘Bridges for the Bush’, it’s aim will be to replace or upgrade rural and regional bridges that create ‘last mile’ access problems.
But, in what might be seen as a subtle sign of the challenges which many governments are having to overcome in funding their major infrastructure spending commitments, Minister Gay also took the time to highlight that revenue from the refinancing of Port Botany through a 99 year lease will be being directed into infrastructure spending.