In his first speech to industry since being appointed Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure and Transport, Michael McCormack, told the Australian Logistics Council (ALC) Forum this week that the free trade agreements with countries such as Japan, South Korea and China will have a positive effect on local logistics industries.
“Recently we concluded the Trans Pacific Partnership agreement , TPP 11, that is also going to provide benefits with wheat, sugar, rice, beef, sheep meat, wine, industrial products – all those types of products that are carried on the trucking companies around this nation. Getting goods to market in a timely and effective way is so important these days,” McCormack said. “We now need to take advantage of them with better logistics.
“We also need to make sure we improve the roads, not only from a road safety point of view but so we can get the trucking companies – those people who provide the lifeblood of our transport industry – to get product to port, get product to supermarkets, and making sure that our regional capitals and our capital cities can survive and thrive into the future.
“Because without regional Australia, and without those trucking companies, quite frankly metropolitan cities wouldn’t last. Your businesses form part of the fabric that holds together our economy, and in doing so collectively you contribute almost 10 per cent to GDP and over one million jobs. That is why the coalition government is focused on providing the sort of infrastructure that this sector needs.”
McCormack revealed the background to his decision when considering what portfolio to take in in conjunction with his role as Deputy PM.
“I chose Infrastructure and Transport because it is the nexus of what the National Party and regional parliamentarians want to be able to do and do well, and it’s such an important and critical aspect of government. That’s the portfolio I chose and not just because of regional Australia but indeed for the national interest.”