ATA and QTA lead positive Budget spend response

Both organisations buoyed by Queensland Inland Freight Route boost

ATA and QTA lead positive Budget spend response
Gary Mahon


The Queensland Trucking Association (QTA) is likely the happiest industry body around after its Inland Freight Route backing gained federal preBudget support.

In its slipstream is the Australian Trucking Association (ATA), glad both for its member organisation and the cash going the way of many other road projects.

However, muting the applause somewhat for the ATA is the quiet surrounding rest areas, with CEO Andrew McKellar insisting they "must not be an afterthought".

 "The ATA welcomes the government’s additional spending on roads across Australia," McKellar says. 

"The spending delivers on collaborative advocacy by our members, such as the Queensland Trucking Association’s campaign for an inland freight route from Mungindi on the NSW border to Charters Towers.  

"The extra road spending should prioritise safety. 

"In particular, the government should expand the approach that has been taken on the Bruce Highway and require the new projects to include truck rest areas as part of their initial design, instead of looking to build them later at much greater expense.  

"Truck drivers need rest areas so they can take the breaks they need to drive safely and meet their compliance obligations. But there just aren’t enough rest areas on the road system. 

"Pleasingly, some states and territories are beginning to do better on planning for rest areas, with new projects and strategies released or under development in Western Australia, Tasmania and New South Wales following the strong work of ATA member associations.  

"Ultimately, these strategies and the hard work of ATA members need to be backed by investment from the Australian government and included as a mandatory standard in federal infrastructure spending."


Read about the foreshadowed Budget spending priorities, here

The QTA is a strong advocate of Inland Freight Route, north-south through centre of the state, having raised it in the lead-up to the state election last year as a safe alternative to the Bruce Highway.

"This is a significant announcement, not only for the road freight industry but for the entire Queensland economy," it says following the $400 million federal pledge.

It adds that this "critical infrastructure investment will unlock access for high productivity combinations, build regional capacity and more efficiently connect the major freight routes leading to lower production costs".   

With the Queensland government having already pledged $200 million, it expects the Inland Freight Route to now a reality.

"This announcement gives us confidence that our voice is being heard and that our advocacy efforts are ensuring that road freight is recognised as a significant contributor to the economy," QTA chief executive Gary Mahon says.

"The road freight industry is vital for the operation and survival of the vast geographical footprint of communities and business across the nation.  

"The reliance on the road freight industry has never been more profound due to the extensive and ongoing impacts of the Covid-19 economic crisis with disrupted global supply chains, simmering trade tensions and weaker demand.   

"To be viable, the road freight industry needs to be competitive on every metric to keep pace on the global map and keep our freight efficiency comparable – our leading manufacturing and production industries depend on it."

The 1,184km route between Charter Towers and Mungindi is a ‘priority initiative’ on Infrastructure Australia’s Infrastructure Priority List since April 2020.

Meanwhile, Victorian port operator Port of Melbourne hails the proposed $2 billion commitment for the creation of a new intermodal terminal to accommodate future Inland Rail services.

"Connection of Inland Rail to the Port of Melbourne, including a direct freight connection to Webb Dock, is essential to meeting the long term demands of consumers and business," CEO Brendan Bourke says.

"The proposed funding for a Melbourne intermodal terminal is a positive step towards that aim.

"As the manager of the Port, we will continue to invest along with industry and government to maximise the efficiency and effectiveness of the port supply chain."


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