Recently I wrote an article as part of a major 22 page feature in WA Business News. The purpose of the feature was to highlight to WA business and political leaders the importance of our transport industry to the WA economy. Feedback from WA business and political leaders has been fantastic.
I have modified it slightly, but here is what I wrote.
Western Roads Federation is the peak body representing the WA road transport industry, including those who use the roads to deliver logistic services such as mobile cranes, mobile plant, waste or removals.
Quite simply, our members DRIVE the WA economy, so potholes for our members can be speed bumps on Western Australia’s economy.
So here are some of our issues to consider.
A key traditional mechanism for road user charging is fuel excise (albeit that is not hypothecated). However more efficient vehicles, the emergence of electric vehicles and the growing cost of building roads means how users pay for roads is being rethought. It is a complex issue but nationally mass- distance charging is a front runner, which in a state that moves a lot of stuff over big distances, that could potentially hurt.
Furthermore, some local governments in WA have sort additional funding to offset higher productivity vehicle access on local roads. Whilst not debating that additional funding is needed, the question is who pays? That may well be the entity that initiates the economic activity that creates the road task. Western Roads Federation is actively engaged in this issue at Federal, State and Local Government levels.
Whilst our cities are benefiting from Infrastructure Australia’s priority on urban transport investment our regions are falling behind. Particularly our remote regional areas where investment business cases are struggling to meet the criteria. A lack of investment means higher costs of transport meaning higher cost of business and living in regional areas. If our regions are to attract more business investment and people, they need investment in regional road networks. We have joined with the NT on leading a national campaign on this issue.
Skilled Driver Shortage
WA is facing an impending crisis if it does not take action to address the quality driver shortage. Quite simply from couriers to road trains our members are struggling to recruit skilled drivers. And let’s be clear there is a big difference between a skilled driver and a licensed driver.
Every new project announced public or private or upswing in activity means more driving tasks. Traditionally we have poached from the East but they also have their own shortage. Even the USA is reporting shortages in the vicinity of 300,000.
The issue extends from attracting people in to the industry, to training and retaining them. We are working with the Government, Unions and our members to develop new long-term solutions.
Inner City Logistics
New developments and an increased inner-city population need to be logistically supported from the delivery of construction materials, to supplying stores, to moving people in and waste out. The biggest problem quite simply is no one knows what goes in and out of the city. Yet many of our members have that data in their vehicle tracking systems. We therefore initiated working with Universities and Government agencies in using this data and our member knowledge mapping the scope of activity and subsequently in developing creative solutions.
We are also working on alternative fuel options, with a Transafe WA led development of a 10 yr road safety plan, with the NT on a strategic transport plan to support potential Defence expansion in North West WA and with a multi-national company on developing the global potential of our WA industry as an export services sector.
There are many other issues, but the key thought we wish you to take away is that our industry is vital to WA’s economy, your productivity and your lifestyle.
In WA our members and our industry have the vision, ideas and capability to DRIVE the WA economy.
If you wish to become involved please contact us at www.westernroads.com.auFollow Us