Time to build Inland Rail, ALC says in budget submission

Logistics body underlines regulatory and infrastructure improvements

Time to build Inland Rail, ALC says in budget submission
Development of a national freight and supply chain strategy is high on ALC's list of recommendations to the government.


The Australian Logistics Council (ALC) has used its budget submission to make yet another push for the development of the Melbourne to Brisbane Inland Rail project.

The submission includes all the suggestions highlighted by the national logistics body over the past year, including:

ALC MD Michael Kilgariff says given the positive cost-benefit analysis of the Inland Rail project, the government must follow through with its promise to complete the project.

The government should demonstrate its commitment to the project by funding construction, he says.

Based on IA’s prediction that truck traffic at Port Botany will increase by 400 per cent by 2030, Kilgariff says the government must also begin the development of Sydney’s Moorebank Intermodal Terminal.

While Infrastructure Australia (IA) expects the national land freight task to grow by 86 per cent between 2011 and 2030, the National Transport Commission (NTC) expected freight task to increase by 26 per cent over the next decade.

ALC says these predictions highlight the need to tackle inefficiencies in the industry related to regulations and infrastructure.

"The imposition of restrictions on the operation and use of freight infrastructure will only add costs to consumers and businesses," ALC notes.

"Moreover, urban encroachment has the ability to undermine the existing and future operation of the freight supply chain.

"The lack of buffer zones and land separation setbacks and design mitigation measures for sensitive use developments have the ability to impact on the efficient operation of freight-related infrastructure.

"For these reasons, ALC strongly supports the development of a National Freight and Supply Chain Strategy and a National Corridor Protection Strategy protecting both existing and future freight corridors, as recommended by IA in its Australian Infrastructure Plan (2016)."

ALC says it is "regrettable" that the government has declined to "fund state and territories to encourage productivity outcomes" by scrapping the Asset Recycling Fund (ARF).

The fund was designed to provide incentives to state and territory governments to transfer mature state government-owned assets to the private sector.

While the government expects the move will reduce gross debt by more than $10 billion by 2019‑20, ALC is nevertheless disappointed.

"It is clear Commonwealth incentives are necessary to ensure that jurisdictions are encouraged to make decisions reflecting the fact that Australia is one single economy," ALC states.

"Microeconomic reform requires the Commonwealth to be a committed full time player and not a mere commentator or part time participant."

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