Andrew Harbison, Isuzu Australia Director and Chief Operating Officer, has praised the Australian transport industry on its ability to support the nation during the COVID crisis.
“In overcoming supply chain disruption along with significant changes to border restrictions and an entirely new set of health and safety guidelines – including the recent Freight Movement Protocol – Australian transport operators have proven sufficiently agile and resilient to meet multiple challenges head on,” said Harbison.
“It’s been especially heartening to see that as Victoria comes out of its second virus wave, optimism and confidence in road transport in the southern state is buoyant, with 94 per cent of operators agreeing their businesses will go on to be more prosperous, post-COVID.”
Harbison said that while there’s no doubt this optimism can be directly correlated with record volumes of freight and a marked increase in online shopping, credit should also be given to the Federal Government for its sweeping fiscal stimulus measures including JobKeeper, the increased Instant Asset Write-Off and Backing Business Investment initiatives.
“But in saying this, I acknowledge road transport has remained comparatively above water compared with industries critically affected by social and public health restrictions,” said Harbison.
He added that as the steadfast performance of the trucking community goes duly recognised throughout this year, it’s also important to recognise the ongoing contribution the transport industry will make to Australia’s future economic recovery.
In light of this, Harbison said, the intent behind the 2020-21 Federal budget, with its core focus on sustainable growth and jobs in a diversified economy, will signal further positive outcomes for road transport.
“Amongst the range of announcements made on the night, there are key messages around investment and support for business operations to take away from the Federal budget this year,” said Harbison.
“On the topic of growth, the 2020-21 budget’s macro focus on infrastructure development and manufacturing is a sound way to boost local jobs and revenue for a broad range of businesses.”
He described a commitment of $110 billion for land transport infrastructure over 10 years as a good start, along with a further $1 billion to the Local Roads and Community Infrastructure Program and significant additional funding for the Road Safety Program.
“This is good news for all road users, but greater news for road transport in helping to meet the national freight challenge, and in supporting interconnected trades and construction businesses,” said Harbison.
“I believe our industry has the fundamentals to be a leader of innovation in this country, and with economic encouragement, I have no doubt we will achieve this. Indeed, the Australian road transport industry has proven this many times over, especially during the pandemic.
“In the truly forward-thinking industry of Aussie road transport, I have every confidence we will be seizing opportunities with both hands, and in doing so, diversifying to meet new challenges and support our nation’s need for economic growth in the coming years,” he said.