Australian Logistics Council (ALC) Managing Director, Michael Kilgariff, has backed the findings of an Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART) report on NSW Council mergers.
According to Kilgariff, the implementation of the IPART report could improve the efficiency of the state’s freight supply chains.
“The logistics industry agrees with the report’s recommendation to merge councils that are deemed ‘not fit’ as a way to improve the delivery of major infrastructure, achieve more efficient service delivery and to better integrate strategic planning and policy,” said Kilgariff.
“As the report card indicates, there is a need to enhance the scale and capacity of local councils to improve how they deliver services to both local communities and industry, and the logistics industry is a good case in point.
“All too often, and to the frustration of industry, councils take different approaches to such things as ‘last mile’ access, the loading and unloading of goods, delivery curfews and other restrictions which impact on the efficient movement of freight.
“Because of a lack of size, many local government areas do not have the skills and resources, or alternatively, do not prioritise the task of undertaking, or obtaining, the engineering assessments necessary to make informed road access decisions.
“The logistics industry would support any steps, such as amalgamations, to enhance councils’ ability to make better decisions in regards to heavy vehicle access, particularly as they relate to ‘first and last mile’ issues.
“Merging councils would not only bring with it economies of scale, it would help to deliver more ‘joined up thinking’ on such matters as road access decisions, planning and curfews.
“The logistics industry shares concerns previously expressed by IPART about councils either not having the capacity to make prompt decisions on heavy vehicle road access, or being too conservative when making decisions because asset protection often takes precedence over productivity considerations.
“With an expected doubling of NSW’s freight task by 2031 to nearly 800 million tonnes, it is imperative NSW’s supply chains are operating at peak efficiency to ensure freight can be delivered efficiency, reliably and safely,” he said.