Transport industry backs highway fund made from assett sales

THE peak body for the transport and logistics industry has backed putting the funds from mass sell-offs of ports into projects including the Bruce and Pacific highways.

Releasing a report that found the freight moving sector was worth some $131 billion a year, the Australian Logistics Council has backed plans to recycle the funds from State Government privatisations.

The support for Treasurer Joe Hockey's "asset recycling" fund comes as both Queensland and New South Wales eye off further asset sales to bolster their bottom lines.

But the program, with the Federal Government to pitch in to fund new roads and rail projects, is contingent on the proceeds going to new infrastructure.

Australian Logistics Council chief executive Michael Kilgariff said the idea had merit, saying that the ALC's report, released Monday, confirmed the massive flow-on benefits from investing in logistics.

The report found the industry employs about 1.2 million people and contributed some 8.6% to Australia's gross domestic product, moving commodities and products across the country on roads, rails and through ports.

He said however, that more needed to be done at a national level, with work to improve major freight links including the Bruce and Pacific highways essential to improving the efficiency of the nation's freight task.

Mr Kilgariff said the industry, which commonly crosses state borders, needed a better national framework, with difference and overlap between states affecting the industry.

"We've had some progress with the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator, but the task is far from finished, and I don't think anyone is not acknowledging that," he said.

"But we need State and Federal governments to work together to improve infrastructure - it's not necessarily building lots of new roads and rail lines, but improving the ones we have so they operate more efficiently."

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