Date PostedApril 2, 2012

Australia at “Watershed Point” for key infrastructure and freight facilities: New Report

A recent report issued by the COAG Reform Council ( has highlighted concerns about our capital cities’ ability to cope with predicted growth in freight needs for the future.  Duncan Sheppard of the Australian Logistics Council (ALC) commented today:

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A review of Australia’s capital cities by the COAG Reform Council shows a concerning lack of progress to put in place planning systems that are geared to meeting Australia’s freight needs now, and into the future.

“The Review of Capital City Strategic Planning Systems found governments must do more to ensure they are prepared to meet Australia’s future freight challenges by providing for nationally significant economic infrastructure,” said Michael Kilgariff, Australian Logistics Council Managing Director.

“Failure to do so will result in significant economic costs to the nation through reduced industry efficiency, as well as a reduced standard of living in our cities from inappropriate development occurring around key infrastructure and freight facilities.

“The CRC report reveals a number of planning systems do not have clear strategies for matching expected growth in the use of their ports and airports with capacity for these facilities.



Sheppard adds:

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“And, it is important to remember that the existence of a robust infrastructure planning framework ultimately means nothing if there isn’t money backing it up to develop and build infrastructure, and to purchase the land necessary to purchase corridors.


Concern was also raised that the report reveals the relatively lesser infrastructure planning in the major ports and centres of Sydney and Melbourne compared to other areas.

These issues of less than coordinated strategic logistics and infrastructure planning across our country as a whole, can only contribute to and exacerbate the very risks and concerns that Chain of Responsibility legislation is targeted at ameliorating, particularly when it comes to reducing the time pressures for consignment delivery, which of course under CoR are not just the responsibility of drivers but also schedulers, consignors, loaders, receivers and managers.

A Media Release on the the COAG Reform Council website entitled “Solving the Puzzle of Capital Cities Planning” states:

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Solving the puzzle of capital cities planning

In a landmark review of Australia’s capital cities the council has found that governments need to do more to plan better for the future land use, infrastructure and economies of our cities.

Chairman of the COAG Reform Council, Paul McClintock AO, said governments need to get better at bringing together different aspects of their city planning.

“Just like you can’t solve a Rubik’s cube one side at a time, you can’t deal with land use, infrastructure and economic development separately,” Mr McClintock said.

The council found both strengths and weaknesses in the long-term planning of each capital city.

“Our report found that while governments have shown strong commitment to improve their planning systems, none of their systems are entirely consistent with COAG’s agreed criteria to re-shape our capital cities,” Mr McClintock said.

In assessing the eight cities, it was clear that governments share a number of common goals, issues and challenges–and no one government has all the policy levers and expertise to deal with them.

Mr McClintock said that COAG’s reforms and the review process demonstrate the value of collaboration by governments on planning capital cities.

“It is absolutely essential that all nine governments continue to work together to achieve COAG’s objective for our capital cities.”

“The value of improving planning in our cities is clear–around 75 per cent of Australia’s population live in our major cities and these cities generate nearly 80 per cent of GDP.”

“Governments have shown a strong commitment to improve their planning systems and we appreciate their active participation in our review,” Mr McClintock said.



But Ruza Zifkusic-Aftasi from Australian Transport News provides a less shiny summary!

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Ruza Zivkusic-Aftasi | April 2, 2012

Australia’s capital cities need to prepare themselves to better meet infrastructure growth at ports and airports, a review has found.

The Council of Australian Governments Reform Council (COAG) Chairman Paul McClintock wants all governments to work together to achieve COAG’s objective for capital cities, saying more needs to be done to improve freight transport and intermodal networks to support growth.

“Our report found that while governments have shown strong commitment to improve their planning systems, none of their systems are entirely consistent with COAG’s agreed criteria to reshape our capital cities,” McClintock says.

The review of capital city strategic planning systems has found the country is at a “watershed point” for its capital cities and strategic planning.

“Strategic planning of capital cities must change accordingly, underlining the importance of COAG’s agreement of criteria to reshape our cities,” the review says.

“The panel sees a need for a changed approach to infrastructure planning and financing – investment must be strategic to both overcome a lack of investment in decent decades and to manage infrastructure provision over the medium and long term.”

Sydney and Melbourne were among the worst-performing cities when their strategic planning systems were assessed against criteria agreed by COAG in 2009 to improve the global competitiveness, productivity, sustainability and liveability of capital cities.

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The full report is available for download here.

No doubt further comment will appear over the next days and weeks.

What are your views?  Add your comment below:




Peter Cutforth is a Director at Urban E-Learning, a global elearning and web strategy firm based in George St Brisbane. Peter's interests extend to training, safety and compliance, online marketing, and Mobile Apps.

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