Archive / Supply Chain Reform

Supply Chain Reform


As an island nation with a widely dispersed population and a large freight task, supply chains are vital to the Australian economy and social wellbeing. 

Productivity and competitiveness are vital goals for economic development in any country. As the single largest contributor to Australia’s GDP (ALC, 2007, p.14), the transport and logistics sector will need to be innovative and address efficiency and productivity issues to assist continued economic development.

As suggested in the Future Supply Chains 2020 report, “step-change thinking and industry-wide innovation is required if Australia’s future supply chains are both economically productive and environmentally sustainable” (2010, p.4).

Traditionally, policy has been segmented by mode and or jurisdiction, however, this approach is no longer practical. Supply and commodity chains may cross geographical borders, utilise any number of transport modes and involve any number of players, both public and private, each with vested interests that may not result in optimal outcomes for the nation.
A more collaborative approach is required, one that will encourage holistic improvements in productivity and sustainability.

The objective of the project is to improve the efficiency of Australian supply chains by providing Government with a suite of recommendations to optimise the performance of supply chains vital to national productivity.

Role of the NTC

The major focus of NTC work will be to develop alternative options for government consideration to assist in developing more efficient freight movement.

For example, identifying supply chains that may benefit from greater coordination/collaboration i.e. whole of supply chain coordination rather than participants operation in silos which lead to bottlenecks and information blockages.

Other examples may include:

  • identifying the most effective regulatory and governance frameworks;
  • championing technological opportunities to improve real-time information systems and
  • encourage information sharing for individual supply chains to drive end to end supply chain management and collaboration.


In February 2008, the South Australian transport minister took responsibility for developing Capacity Constraints and Supply Chain Performance aspects of a national transport policy. At the July 2008 Australian Transport Council (ATC) meeting transport ministers identified supply chains of national significance.

Ministers tasked the NTC with pilot studies into the intermodal transport, meat and livestock, grain, and coal supply chains. Consultancy firms Booz&Co, Strategic Design and Development, and Synergies Economic Consulting were engaged to assist with the task.

In March 2009, the NTC released the Supply Chain Pilots Draft Position Paper for public comment.

It consolidated the key efficiency impediments and recommendations identified in each of the four supply chains researched. Extensive consultation has since been undertaken with industry and government to produce the draft position paper.

The recommendations included:

  • better coordination of land-use planning and investment for road, rail and ports nationally;
  • setting rail prices to encourage more effective train movements;
  • better access to important rail terminals;
  • user-pays pricing reform for trucks, creating a commercial incentive for road owners to improve ‘last mile’ access (to grain silos, saleyards etc); and
  • ensuring regional rail is not disadvantaged by current averaged heavy vehicle road charges.

In May 2009, the ATC considered final recommendations resulting from the Supply Chain Pilot Studies.

Ministers agreed that future work will be led by Productivity and Efficiency Standing Sub-Committee as part of a new streamlined structure of the Standing Committee on Transport and Infrastructure (SCOTI).

Consultants reports

The following documents were prepared by consultants for the NTC and the National Transport Policy - Capacity Constraints and Supply Chain Performance Working Group (led by Patrick Conlon MP South Australian Minister for Transport).

Common elements that emerged from the documents were used to form the basis of the themed recommendations that are set out and developed in the draft position paper. The documents provide background material, an examination of issues and government involvement, and recommendations, for each supply chain.


Booz & Co Intermodal Supply Chain Final Report March 2009 (0.59 MB)
Booz & Co Intermodal Supply Chain Working Paper 1 & Appendix 1 (0.99 MB)
Booz & Co Intermodal Supply Chain Working Paper 1 Appendix 2 (5.38 MB)
Booz & Co Intermodal Supply Chain Working Paper 1 Appendix 3 (5.31 MB)
Booz & Co Intermodal Supply Chain Working Paper 2 (1 MB)

Meat & Livestock

Sd&D Livestock and Meat Supply Chain Stage 1 Report (2.79 MB)


Sd&D Grain Supply Chain Stage One Report (2.24 MB)
Sd&D Grain and Livestock Supply Chains Final Report - February 2009 (1.44 MB)


Synergies Review of Coal Supply Chains Final Report - March 2009 (465.28 KB)

Last Updated: 1/7/2015