Logistics News

Berejiklian hits back at Feds on rail project

NSW Minister for Transport Gladys Berejiklian takes issue with Albanese on the progress of Northern Sydney Freight corridor rail project

By <a href="mailto:agamelopata@acpmagazines.com.au“>Anna Game-Lopata | October 13, 2011

NSW Minister for Transport Gladys Berejiklian has dismissed the Federal Transport Minister’s
concerns that progress on the Northern Sydney Freight project is too slow.

Federal Minister for Transport and Infrastructure Anthony Albanese last month
blamed NSW government inaction for the inability to “untangle”
the freight and passenger rail network from North Strathfield to Gosford.

“Right now, we have passenger and freight trains crammed onto the one network throughout the majority of the Sydney Basin,” Albanese said in
a speech to the McKell Institute. “Our $840 million has been on the table for four years.

“An Inter Governmental Agreement has been drafted and is with the NSW Government to sign up to. It has been with them for close to six months now.

“Our funding is on the table and we want to get on with the job. I strongly urge the NSW Government to agree to the work scope set out so that we can start this work as soon as possible.”

But NSW Minister Berejiklian argues the Federal Labor Government wants to limit the number of passenger services on the Newcastle and Central Coast line for 20 years.

“That is not acceptable,” she tells SCR. “They also want other conditions that have the potential to reduce the reliability of Sydney’s passenger rail services.

“The Northern Sydney Freight Corridor project has the potential to drive efficiency improvements for east coast rail freight. We want to increase rail patronage and services.

“Our rail system is a shared network, where passenger services and freight services in many instances use the same track.

“We need to ensure the outcome of this Federal and State agreement delivers passengers with a reliable train service, while at the same time giving the appropriate network access to freight operators.

Berejiklian adds the NSW Government is currently negotiating with the Federal Government to sign a Memorandum of Understanding in regards to the Corridor.

“We will continue to work co-operatively with the Federal Government to finalise this process,” she says.

While Albanese also described the development of an Intermodal Terminal at Moorebank as “long overdue” in his speech, Berejiklian claims the local community’s concern about it is “understandable”.

“I would ask the Federal Government to reassure residents their questions will be answered through the project’s assessment process,” the Minister says.

“Adequate and transparent consultation with the local community is a vital part of any development.

“I would encourage the community to become involved in the Federal Government’s information sessions being held at the end of this month.”

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