Infrastructure Victoria presents draft 30-year plan


ALC welcomes proposal to develop a national freight and supply chain strategy, VTA backs missing link recommendation

Infrastructure Victoria presents draft 30-year plan
The report states improving access to the Port of Melbourne will improve freight efficiency across the state.

 

The Australian Logistics Council (ALC) and the Victorian Transport Association (VTA) have welcomed Infrastructure Victoria’s draft 30-year plan that highlights some of the projects that have been on ALC’s and VTA’s agendas.

The independent advisory body’s Victoria’s Draft 30-Year Infrastructure Strategy report outlines plans to drive productivity to meet the state’s growing supply chain and freight industry.

These include key projects for improved movement of freight by road and rail, better access to the Port of Melbourne, infrastructure upgrades and a proposed transport pricing scheme that can "deliver more significant reductions in congestion than any new road project, cutting daily commute times and improving freight efficiency".

ALC MD Michael Kilgariff applauds the suggestion to develop a national freight and supply chain strategy, a recommendation earlier presented by Infrastructure Australia.

"ALC’s support for this Strategy is spelt out in our 2016 election priorities document Getting the Supply Chain Right and video Now is the time to get the supply chain right as a fundamental step to driving greater efficiency and productivity across the sector," ALC MD Michael Kilgariff says. 

"ALC welcomes the Plan’s practical proposals to achieve this, such as protecting freight precincts, improving Port of Melbourne rail access, expanding high productivity vehicles, road investment reform and progressing the Western Intermodal Freight Precinct. 

"With the Plan emphasising that the state’s freight task will hit 170 billion net tonne-kilometres per annum in 30 years, ALC encourages action on these proposals by the Victorian Government."

Kilgariff says that with the cost of congestion on urban roads estimated to rise to more than $50 billion by 2031, and demand for many key urban road and rail corridors projected to exceed current capacity by 2031, the need for investment in landside infrastructure is clear.

"This investment must focus on linkages to the Port of Melbourne and incorporate all modes of transport, including short haul rail, which needs to play a greater role into the future as the port continues to move greater number of containers each year," he says. 

"ALC looks forward to engaging with Infrastructure Victoria and the State Government on the Plan’s proposals to ensure the state can meet its future freight challenges." 

Meanwhile, VTA has made another push to begin work on the North East Link project.

The state transport body says the relevance of the project is highlighted in the fact that Infrastructure Victoria’s report has prioritised it ahead of "other mooted projects".

"In its draft 30 year infrastructure plan for the state released today, Infrastructure Victoria has prioritised the North East Link ahead of other mooted projects, saying it would generate returns of between $1.40 and $2.10 for every $1 invested, and that it therefore provides the greatest benefit for the cost," the VTA states.

The report recommends: "Construct the North East Link within 10-15 years. As a first step, there needs to be a detailed assessment of alternative alignments. This link would enhance access to major employment centres, particularly the Latrobe NEC and the Epping, Ringwood and Broadmeadows MACs, through improved orbital road connectivity and improve the capacity of the freight network, particularly from the southeast and Gippsland."

VTA has been a strong advocate of the project and has made repeated calls to the state politicians to begin work on it.

VTA CEO Peter Anderson says the ‘missing link’ project had the best possible chance of achieving bi-partisan support among all the road infrastructure projects and that it is "time for governments of all persuasion to put Victoria first and back the project".

"The Victorian Government and Opposition have indicated the project has clear merit, with the Treasurer saying it makes ‘innate sense’," Anderson says.

"And with the Commonwealth already allocating $5 million to fund a formative routing study, and now this Infrastructure Victoria endorsement, there has never been a better time for consensus to be reached and the road to be given serious consideration."

Anderson says preliminary work must start immediately so that the project is completed with the recommended 15-year timeline.

"There is a significant amount of formative work and consultation that needs to be done and we hope this independent recommendation gives government the impetus they need to see the project through," he says.

VTA reiterates that the North East Link will help improve freight movement and ease congestion on arterial roads in the north-eastern suburbs.

"The North East Link has been the VTA’s priority road project for Victoria and this independent report certainly validates our long-held view that connecting the M80 with the Eastern Freeway or Eastlink, and finally completing the Metropolitan Ring Road, must be the priority for governments," Anderson says.

"We believe the connection will remove up to 40 per cent of heavy vehicle traffic from arterial roads in north east suburbs that they have had little choice but to use through lack of alternatives.

"This would ease congestion massively on those roads, making them safer for all motorists and improving amenity for residents.

"The productivity gains for transport operators the connection would create would be immense and include lower fuel costs and more time being able to productively spend moving freight.

"The broader economy would also benefit from productivity gains achieved through less congestion on arterial roads."

About the plan

Infrastructure Victoria is an independent authority that was handed the task to devise a draft 30-year infrastructure strategy to help decision-makers, community and stakeholders plan Victoria’s future infrastructure.

The purpose of the document is to "publicly test" the draft recommendations before they are presented to the Victorian Parliament towards of the end of the year.

Infrastructure Victoria is now calling for feedback on its draft recommendations outlined in its draft 30-year infrastructure strategy before it is presented to the state parliament later this year.

The Victorian Government will have up to 12 months to respond to the final recommendations and develop its own five-year plan.

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