Northern Australia’s agricultural supply chains and freight networks will be under the spotlight as a new Cooperative Research Centre for Developing Northern Australia (CRCNA) project looks to re-frame the way we think about how goods are moved around the north and to our Asian customers.

The Re-framing Northern Australia Supply Chains Study is being led by James Cook University’s the Cairns Institute (JCU) in partnership with Charles Darwin University’s Northern Institute and will take a broad look at supply chains across northern Australia, with the view to develop more efficient, effective, smart and agile models.

The project will also identify key policy and budgetary directions to support effective supply chains, identify potential partnerships for collaborative planning and implementation of supply chain initiatives and value-add to supply chain thinking and analysis.

CRCNA Chair Sheriden Morris said efficient supply chains were fundamental to the improvement of competitiveness, prosperity, productivity and sustainability of northern Australia.

“This project will provide a renewed examination and re-framing of supply chains – how they work and how they could work better.

“We all know we can grow high-value agricultural crops in the north, that we can rear quality cattle and that our seafood is some of the best in the world, but unless we can get our products to market in a consistent, cost-effective and timely way, we will continue to give away our competitive advantage, stifling development and growth.”

Project lead, JCU Professor Hurriyet Babacan said her team will bring together key stakeholders from across Queensland, the Northern Territory and Western Australia to develop a comprehensive road map for future planning and investment.

“Round table sessions, to be held early 2020, will involve a diverse mix of stakeholders sharing knowledge and learning from each other with the view to form a community of best practice.

“Researchers and supply chain experts from other Australian universities will also be part of these discussions, with the aim of building capacity and critical analysis skills in this area over the longer-term,” Professor Babacan said.

CDU’s Associate Professor Pascal Tremblay said a final report will outline major potential policy reforms needed to support effective supply chains in northern Australia.

“Our integrated approach will deliver a framework to support longer-term collaborative planning and implementation of supply chain initiatives into the future, across agencies, across industries and across jurisdictional governments.”

Ms Morris said the broader examination of agricultural supply chains will compliment and support other CRCNA-funded supply chain projects, such as a collaboration with the Singapore-based Australian Chamber of Commerce ASEAN, the Greater Whitsunday Alliance and Advance Cairns, and the recently completed North Queensland Agricultural Market and Supply Chain Study with Townsville Enterprise.

“The CRCNA is committed to working with industry, researchers and government to resolve issues associated with expensive and inefficient supply chains across the north.

“Each of these projects will come together to enable the CRCNA to build an evidence-base to inform budgetary, investment and infrastructure planning which supports smart and agile supply chain development for northern Australia, to the benefit of all producers and agribusinesses.”

The final report is expected to be completed by mid-2020.

Media enquiries 

Carla Keith, CRCNA Communications 0499 330 051