The national port strategy provides an opportunity for the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) to support an important piece of economic reform and show what’s possible when the federation works cooperatively in the national interest, says BCA President Graham Bradley.
Welcoming the strategy as a key element of a comprehensive infrastructure plan for Australia, Mr Bradley said federal and state/territory governments needed to work together now to fill in the details and move swiftly to implement the strategy.
““The World Economic Forum ranks Australia 46th out of 139 countries for our port infrastructure. The strategy released today offers a sensible, practical framework to help us lift our game,” he said.
Developed for the government by Infrastructure Australia and the National Transport Commission, Mr Bradley welcomed the strategy’s particular focus on:
- Integrated planning, including streamlined assessment processes that recognise the economic significance of major projects at ports and relevant freight corridors
- A requirement for 15–30 year planning documentation for each port to be published and regularly updated, and
- The strategic importance of ensuring adequate landside access for the efficient functioning of ports.
“This strategy does not display any grab for power from the federal government,” said Mr Bradley. “This means COAG should be in a position to act quickly and decisively to support a long-awaited and much-needed aspect of economic reform.
“The timeframes are tight but realistic for most recommendations, showing that the government recognises the urgency of these reforms. The BCA commends the strategy’s timetable for delivery.”
Mr Bradley said the BCA looked forward to the ports strategy being effectively integrated into the National Freight Network Plan being developed by Infrastructure Australia.
“This work underlines the value of Infrastructure Australia in indentifying and scoping national infrastructure priorities.”