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Transport infrastructure solutions finally hit the road

10 September 2012

The National Farmers’ Federation (NFF) has welcomed the release of the Federal Government’s National Land Freight Strategy as a step towards solving Australia’s transport infrastructure issues and boosting agriculture’s supply chain productivity.

NFF President Jock Laurie said Australia’s farmers rely on efficient and effective road, rail and port infrastructure, and the release of the Freight Strategy on Friday is a positive step, building on COAG’s recent endorsement of the National Ports Strategy.

“An infrastructure report released by RIRDC late last year showed a clear need for long-term planning for agricultural infrastructure in order to meet the future needs of our farming sector,” Mr Laurie said.

“The report found that infrastructure is lacking in funding, maintenance and proper planning – all issues that the NFF believes must be addressed in finding suitable infrastructure solutions for our farmers.

“Now, with the release of the National Land Freight Strategy, and the recent release of the National Ports Strategy, we are seeing the start of what we hope will be much-needed action on transport infrastructure to assist our agricultural sector.

“Farmers are constantly doing what they can on-farm to improve efficiency and increase productivity – yet these efforts are hampered once our produce leaves the farm-gate. We are being let down by poor investment and poor planning in our infrastructure; infrastructure that is essential in moving produce to processors, ports and ultimately, consumers.

“Current infrastructure funding constraints and the accumulation of red-tape are holding back the international competiveness of Australian businesses. We believe continued productivity growth across the supply chain will require increased investment in road, rail and port infrastructure, and the reduction of regulatory hurdles.

“We also firmly believe long-term planning for infrastructure is long overdue, and we welcome the focus on planning, forecasting and future scenarios in the National Land Freight Strategy report. We will be working to ensure a sound implementation plan is developed and that agricultural infrastructure is given due investment consideration.

“We will be monitoring the Standing Council on Transport and Infrastructure’s implementation of the National Freight Strategy very closely to ensure agricultural freight flows are kept as a priority – and we urge COAG to do the same,” Mr Laurie said.

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