As a result of the reshuffle in the New South Wales cabinet caused by the shock resignation of Premier, Barry O’Farrell last week, Duncan Gay’s position vis-a-vis the freight industry has been reinforced. The former Minister for Roads in the O’Farrell government is now to be the Minister for Roads and Freight in the new Mike Baird government, as announced today.
This is continuing good news for the trucking industry. The arrival of Gay in the Roads portfolio after the last NSW election marked a culture change in the interface between the NSW government and road transport. A thaw in the frosty relationship included a realignment of the government agencies involved with trucking. The intransigent RTA became the open-minded RMS and the higher strategic functions passed to Transport NSW, separating them from the regulators and enforcement arm.
Transport Minister Gladys Berejiklian also retains her portfolio. However, it is the symbolism of the word freight in the Minister’s title which demonstrates the new emphasis on the issues which are important to our industry. This is the first time freight has been formally included in a Minister’s title in NSW.
“NSW has a pivotal national role to play in Australia’s logistics industry given an estimated 60 per cent of the nation’s freight travels through NSW,” said Australian Logistics Council Managing Director, Michael Kilgariff. “Elevating freight to the Minister’s portfolio responsibilities is a welcome and sensible step, and we look forward to Minister Gay continuing to provide a strong voice within Cabinet on the steps that need to be taken to improve supply chain efficiency and safety in NSW and nationally.”
Similar sentiments were expressed by the Livestock and Bulk Carriers Association. “It is the first time in the State’s history that freight has been formally recognised in the NSW Ministry and we are extremely lucky that a pro-active and effective Minister has the lead,” said the LBCA statement after the announcement.