An election pledge by the Governing Liberal Party of NSW to introduce a Supply Chain Commissioner has come under fire by the Transport Workers Union (TWU).
TWU NSW/Queensland Secretary Richard Olsen told NCA NewsWire he fears the high-profile job could lead to cost-cutting which would impact truck driver safety, while supporting “wealthy supply chain clients”.
“The squeeze on transport contracts puts pressure on operators and drivers to delay truck maintenance and repairs, skip rest breaks, speed and drive fatigued,” Mr Olsen told NCA NewsWire as reported in news.com.au.
“There is no fat to cut from razor-thin transport margins from which wealthy clients already reap massive gains,” Mr Olsen said.
NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet says his government would create the commissioner role to identify supply chain road and rail freight bottlenecks.
A re-elected Liberal and Nationals Government plans to invest $1 billion in the regions to upgrade roads, fast-track freight and rebuild transport infrastructure. It includes $300 million for a new Fast Tracking Freight program. This is to tackle freight pinch points on the road and rail network, better connect road and rail with key and emerging freight hubs and increase the capacity and reliability of the network, the NSW Government says.
“The faster we can do that at a cheaper price, the better families right across NSW will be,” he told news.com.au.
It is understood the Commissioner would work closely with Productivity and agriculture Commissioners to address driver shortages by subsidising heavy vehicle course fees, influence national reform around packaging and costs and address pinch points at ports.
NSW Farmers welcomed the government’s promise to install a new Supply Chain Commissioner.
NSW Farmers Grains Committee Chair Justin Everitt told Prime Mover Magazine it was time to remove disruptions in the supply chain.
“It is critical we have fit-for-purpose road, rail and port infrastructure to get food and fibre from farm gate to dinner plate,” he said.
“At the moment we have a lot of inefficiencies in the supply chain that are resulting in higher prices for consumers.
“Farmers are often left scratching their heads when they see the produce they sold for cents a kilo retailing for dollars a kilo.”