Freight strategy officially launched

A year of hard work for industry and government has culminated in Queensland’s first ever Integrated Freight Strategy

Freight strategy officially launched
Freight strategy officially launched

By Anna Game-Lopata |
January 17, 2012

A year of hard work
for industry and government has culminated in Queensland’s first ever Integrated Freight Strategy.

Launched in Acacia Ridge, in Brisbane early in the new year, and for the second time in Townsville yesterday, Queensland’s new Integrated Freight Strategy aims to crystallise the freight priorities and requirements of the whole state.

A major undertaking, to say the least, the strategy sets out a ten year plan in which
economic growth, particularly in resources and energy will be plotted out to ensure industry and government can prioritise extra funding for key freight routes and infrastructure.

"The Queensland Government is investing $5.4 billion in transport infrastructure across the state which will deliver significant benefits for freight," says Queensland Transport Minister Annastacia Palaszczuk.

Despite this, she tells SupplyChain Review the freight strategy is not intended as a "financial document", but rather an instrument to enable the identification of the main freight routes and collaboration.

"This is the first time this has ever happened," Minister Palaszczuk says.

"Rather than government telling industry what needs to happen, industry sat down with government to identify the freight task."

"It is up to industry to then talk to Council and Government to plan the strategy for rural and regional road upgrades or other infrastructure
in future so that government can then sit down and help with the planning."

Palaszczuk points to the proposed Townsville Eastern Access Rail Corridor project,
also launched yesterday as an example of the how collaboration occurred between industry and government through the strategy.

"The rail network feeding into the Port of Townsville will experience significant growth in coming years and we need to have additional infrastructure in place to cater for that," she says.

"We now know a rail line connecting the Port of Townsville with the North Coast and Mt Isa lines is feasible and the Queensland Government is now
looking for expressions of interest to make it happen."

Queensland Transport and Logistics Council (QTLC) Chairman Neil Findlay says the clear message from government is that freight is on the radar where it hasn’t been in the past.

"There is considerable recognition we are a large state with a diverse industry base, which needs effective connections to market," he says.

"The Freight Strategy doesn’t have modal favourites, but sets out a system to incorporate all in a seamless freight system from origin to destination as quickly and safely as possible."

Findlay, who was instrumental in developing the strategy through QTLC says there are three major areas of priority.

"First, the Surat Basin where there are
significant gas and coal developments, second, central Queensland’s Galilee Basin and third, the North West Mineral Province which is facing enormous development across a diverse range of mining interests," he says.

Currently, the North West Province faces considerable rail constraints forcing interests in the region to consider an expanded road freight option.

"Finding how best to manage these needs, determining where funds need to be spent, where and how much track needs to be upgraded and so on, are the types of outcomes we expect to flow out of the freight strategy," Findlay says.

A foundational document only, Findlay says the strategy is definitely not the end of the road, pardon the pun.

"From a QTLC point of view,
the strategy is to identify freight routes where demand
is growing most significantly and realistically prioritise the need for investment in infrastructure and new regulation or policy change so that we can apply resources where they’re needed most."

According to Queensland Main roads Minister Craig Wallace the strategy will help shape Queensland’s input to the Commonwealth’s draft National Land Freight Strategy discussion paper, as well as how towork with local government.

"Ultimately, these solutions must be safe, affordable and environmentally sustainable," Minister Wallace says.

"This strategy includes a feasibility study for coastal shipping, improving heavy vehicle access to the road network and preserving freight corridors and activity centres."

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