National Freight and Supply Chain Strategy—Frequently Asked Questions


Why do we need a National Freight and Supply Chain Strategy? What connection will it have to the existing National Land Freight Strategy and National Ports Strategy?

A National Freight and Supply Chain Strategy (the Strategy) is needed to position Australia's freight infrastructure for significant growth in the freight task–both from a growing Australian population and increasing demand for Australian resources and produce, especially in growing Asian markets. The Strategy will build on current achievements including the National Land Freight Strategy, 2012 and the National Ports Strategy, 2013. These strategies particularly focused on integrated planning between governments with regard to road and rail transport. They delivered the national key freight routes map, state and territory-based freight strategies and plans, long term masterplans for nationally significant ports, improved freight data, performance and planning assessment and implementation tools. This information will now be used to develop broader a broader Strategy that encompasses the entire supply chain.

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What is the difference between the Inquiry and the Strategy?

The Inquiry into National Freight and Supply Chain Priorities (the Inquiry) is being led by the Commonwealth and will provide a strong evidence base for the development of the Strategy in concert with jurisdictions. Consultation on the Inquiry will also inform the development of the Strategy.

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What is the Inquiry going to cover? Where can I find its terms of reference?

The Inquiry terms of reference PDF: 219 KB ReadSpeaker were released by the Minister on 9 March 2017 .

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When will the Inquiry report be available? Will it be released for public comment prior to finalisation?

The Minister has announced that a draft Inquiry report will be delivered in December 2017 and the final report in 2018.

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I have an idea or information that may be important to the Inquiry. What should I do?

Submissions to the Inquiry closed on 28 July 2017.

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How were key transport operators and infrastructure owners be engaged/consulted in the Inquiry?

Key transport and infrastructure owners and operators are being consulted throughout the Inquiry process through a variety of forums, including formal meetings, workshops and one-on-one interviews.

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From what areas/ organisations did the Inquiry seek input?

Input for the Inquiry report was sought from a broad range of areas, with particular emphasis on agriculture, resources and urban freight. A wide range of stakeholders were consulted, in the government, transport operator, logistics provider, industry peak organisation and research sectors.

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What were some of the particular areas you sought the involvement of state, territory and local governments?

State, territory and local governments are owners, operators and regulators of freight movements. Their policies and operations were relevant to the Inquiry's terms of reference.

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Will the Inquiry be considering existing freight and supply chain strategies that have already been implemented in Australia and other parts of the world?

The Inquiry will consider a range of domestic and international examples in freight movement and supply chains where appropriate to undertake the terms of reference.

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Will the Inquiry consider the differences between rural, urban and cross-border freight movements?

Yes, the Inquiry is to report on improving the efficiency and productivity of freight and supply chain movements, wherever they rely on Australian freight infrastructure.

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This Inquiry is to recommend investment and reform priorities. How will the investment recommendations differ from the Infrastructure Australia (IA) Investment priorities list?

Infrastructure Australia's priority list is a series of recommendations for spending on new infrastructure above $100 million. The Inquiry may recommend additional national investment priorities. It will also recommend national reforms priorities, some of which may facilitate the investments proposed in the report and the IA Priorities List.

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Are the outcomes of the report likely to consider further privatisation of supply chain infrastructure?

The Inquiry will consider a wide range of options, based on evidence, for improvements to freight movements and supply chain efficiency in Australia. The report's recommendations must address the Government's terms of reference for improving the efficiency and productivity of Australia's freight infrastructure.

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Will the Inquiry be simply forcing bigger trucks onto our community roads and environment?

No. The Inquiry is being undertaken in the context of a growing Australia and the need for a freight system that boosts the nation's prosperity and meets community expectations for safety, security and environmental amenity into the foreseeable future.

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What are the Strategy's key deliverables?

While the Inquiry will provide a strong evidence base and recommendations for the Strategy, the final form and content of the Strategy will be as agreed by Commonwealth, state, territory and local governments through the Council of Australian Governments' Transport and Infrastructure Council.

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What is the time scope of the Inquiry / Strategy?

The Inquiry's findings will enable the development of a long term (20 year) Strategy for reform and investment.

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Will funding be made available to implement the national Strategy?

Funding decisions to implement any agreed actions under the Strategy will be the responsibility of the responsible government or industry sector for each action.

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How do the Inquiry and Strategy relate to other national transportation plans and projects that are currently underway such as the Land Transport Market Reform Agenda (LTMR), Coastal Shipping Reform or development of Urban Rail Plans for Australian cities?

There are a number of national initiatives which may include consultation processes underway that interrelate with the Inquiry into Australia’s Freight and Supply Chain Priorities. Examples include LTMR, Coastal Shipping Reform and the development of Urban Rail Plans. These are all key elements of a national program of actions to address issues identified by either Infrastructure Australia or Government. While it is important that these projects inform each other and have complementary outcomes, the Inquiry will not seek to duplicate work being conducted in these other national initiatives.

Please click the hyperlink provided if you wish to provide comment or engage with LTMR, Coastal Shipping Reform or Urban Rail Plans development. If you believe the information you are providing will also be useful to the Inquiry, please feel free to also make a submission to the Inquiry.

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Due to the changing speed of the economy through digitisation, is the development of a long term Strategy sensible?

One of the key focusses of the Inquiry is to investigate Australia's changing supply chain needs and how to ensure appropriate flexibility and resilience of freight infrastructure is maintained.

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Will the Strategy be informed by considerations or information other than the Inquiry report?

The Strategy will be informed by, and respond to, the Inquiry outcomes.

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Is the Australian Government leading the national Strategy development so as to take control of national transport infrastructure, such as national ports, roads and railways?

No. The development and operation of port, road and rail transport infrastructure is a state matter. The Strategy will be developed jointly with state, territory and local governments to drive national productivity improvements through our freight and supply chains.

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Freight and supply chains have a significant impact on the national economy, community and environment. They are also driven by technology. Will the Inquiry have economic, social, environmental or technology advisors to assist in considering these issues?

The Expert Panel will be able to access specialist advice to complete its role throughout the Inquiry process.

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How were the Expert Panel members selected?

The Expert Panel members were selected by Minister for Infrastructure and Transport, the Hon Darren Chester MP, to best assist the Inquiry by reviewing Inquiry findings, providing advice on how Australia can best lift productivity and the efficiency of Australia's freight and supply chain infrastructure, and lead engagement with industry on the Inquiry's objectives.

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What is the remuneration for Expert Panel members? How was this decided?

The Expert Panel members’ remuneration has been guided by the federal Remuneration Tribunal's determination for part-time board members.

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Where can I find out more about the Expert Panel Members?

Brief biographies of the Expert Panel are available on the Strategy website.

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Last Updated: 17 August, 2017