Buck stops with budget on Moorebank-Albanese

Government will deliver a decision on the way forward for Moorebank hub in May 8 Budget Albanese tells ALC Forum

Buck stops with budget on Moorebank-Albanese
Buck stops with budget on Moorebank-Albanese

By Anna Game-Lopata | March 29, 2012

Federal Transport Minister Anthony Albanese today told the 2012 Australian Logistics Council (ALC)
Forum the government would have a definitive decision about the way forward for the proposed Moorebank Intermodal Terminal in NSW on May 8.

While the Minister says he sees the private sector driving the major development, he stopped short of backing the Sydney Intermodal Terminal Alliance’s (SIMTA) $1 billion proposal.

Owned by a consortium
of logistics operators QR National and Qube Logistics, which bought it out from property group Stockland, SIMPTA’s Moorbank Intermodal hub could reduce truck movements on Port Botany roads by 2,700 annually.

Qube Logistics has publically stated it could have a state of the art terminal up and running by 2013.

But Minister Albanese today told over 500 delegates at the peak Logistics body’s opening session the issue is to come up with a solution that gets "Moorbank right in everyone’s interests" as opposed to "any one group’s interests."

"Chullora and Enfield have outgrown their capacity," the Minister says.

"Moorebank is the only opportunity we’ll have to get freight right for Sydney and we need to seize that opportunity so that the national economy will be the beneficiary."

denies the federal government’s original $300 million Nation Building Program 1 contribution to the Moorebank facility development is a "rival proposal" working in competition to that of SIMTA.

He says it’s simplistic to suggest there is either a "quick no-cost option" or a "slow, more costly option".

"The government allocated money in its last budget to establish a Moorbank project office," the Minister says.

"It was the Howard government that identified the critical nature of the land at Moorbank and this government is working through issues.

"We are considering our position in the lead up to the budget."

Meanwhile Qube Logistics Managing Director Maurice James says all the consortium is asking for is cooperation from the Commonwealth and "simple land owner’s consent" to assist with the 8 meter wide rail connection at the site.

Currently a sticking point exists in that the 83 hectare Moorbank site is being leased by Defence Logistics, which requires a staged withdrawal to allow the development to proceed.

James told the ALC Forum numerous consultations with Defence has resulted in an agreement for the withdrawal commencing at Stage 1 of the Moorbank Project in 2013.

"We acknowledge the cost to Defence but there are also significant savings for them in terms of rent which easily justifies the decision," James says.

The consortium which presented its environmental studies for consultation to the NSW government this week says its Moorebank facility will be a fully funded, private sector intermodal terminal with an open access regime.

It will have the capacity to handle a million TEUS using a shuttle dedicated to trips back and forth to the port.

With a capital expenditure of $200 million, SIMTA’s Stage 1 will also aim to handle 40 percent of incoming volume at on-site warehouses.

While Moorebank will initially be an intra-state facility, James confirms clear opportunities exist for inter-state connections, which SIMTA plans further down the track.

"We’ve done a lot of modelling around the need to support container trade through Port Botany," James says.

"This is a private sector group prepared to invest the significant capital necessary for the a state-of-the-art network in Sydney desperately needs.

"It’s a win-win everyone."

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