Home' ALGY : ALGY Edition 23 2016 Contents THE AUSTRALIAN LOCAL GOVERNMENT YEARBOOK EDITION 23 • 177
While Victoria has regional transport plans in place, these
generally do not include the local nodes and networks, which
form the majority of road space in Australia, and constitute
the first and last kilometre of journeys. It is a key dilemma for
local councils that the capacity of the local infrastructure is
most constrained at the point in the freight journey where the
densest activity takes place: more trips more frequently.
Planning for freight is not an isolated activity of any one
council. It is conducted in the context of national and state
policy agendas. At the time of the Hume Pilot, these included
national reforms to heavy vehicle local access management;
consideration of infrastructure funding reform; consideration of
a local government national financing authority; the emerging
National Heavy Vehicle Regulator; and the Council of Australian
Governments' reform of Heavy Vehicle Charging and Investment.
There was already a regional structure in place, with the
Hume Regional Development Australia committee, Regional
Management Forum and Strategy Subcommittees dedicated
to transport and economic development with a busy regional
agenda. These pre-existing structures gave an advantage to taking
a regional approach, so that local requirements and actions could
be integrated into regional strategies, and funds could be sought
as a regional 'package' for freight productivity improvement.
The key issues and challenges in taking a regional approach were
around four essential elements: cash, skills, networks and knowledge.
It is always difficult for a small rural council to commit
resources and find the skills for freight planning. Land use and
transport planners rarely specialise in supply chain or logistics,
and infrastructure managers are asset-focused, not network
Enabling smaller councils to participate meaningfully is
a challenge, as the sheer volume of freight moving through
larger settlements can dominate planning. In reality, the
smaller local government areas have the largest networks of
freight movement, particularly where they cover large, highly
productive agricultural districts. Volume cannot be the sole
measure of the need for freight planning.
Local government freight planning is essentially a
bottom-up process. In the case of the Hume Pilot, it challenged
the more top-down processes of national and state planning,
where intra- and inter-regional freight movement did not
align with these plans in a physical or administrative sense. For
example, local roads that performed a regional strategic freight
role with poor interface with state road and rail networks or
state-owned network management plans with no recognition of
emerging freight places.
Cross-discipline coordination is another challenge in
planning for freight. It involves coordination of knowledge
frameworks, professional disciplines and functional units within
councils, bringing together the engineers, land use and strategic
planners, economic development officers and enforcement staff.
Gaining a federated consensus within a region of 12 councils
on the priority projects was always going to be a major issue in
taking a regional approach. A matrix was developed to forge a
more objective frame to test each project's merits, taking into
account regional connectivity, freight volume, freight value,
productivity for business, carbon footprint reduction, intermodal
choice, safety, and community amenity.
Tailoring engagement with local communities, including
freight owners, supply chain and logistics service providers and
key freight generators, was a challenging task. While a local
supermarket, feedlot or milk factory may understand itself to
be a freight generator, a hospital or college may not appreciate
the logistics activity that it generates. Small, owner-operated
trucking businesses spend long hours on the road and have
limited capacity to engage. Finding the best, localised means
to connect with stakeholders is vital to deploying operational
tactics to manage safety and local amenity. It was a sobering
insight from local transport operators that their limited dealings
with council tended to be related to enforcement and heavy
vehicle access issues.
The MAV Hume Planning for Freight Pilot developed a freight
improvement plan to be implemented over a four-year period,
with a package of projects identified and prioritised.
Reflecting on critical success factors for regional freight
planning, these elements have emerged from the Hume Pilot as
key to developing useful outcomes:
• active involvement of regional leadership figures and the
regional groupings of governments
• the ability to objectively measure projects
• integration with arterial and regional route plans
• integration with national and state network planning
• high levels of industry engagement
• migration of priorities into regional advocacy work, such as
growth plans and investment prospectus
• an injection of capability-building tools, information and
training for council officers.
Links Archive ALGY Edition 24 2017 Navigation Previous Page Next Page