Albo launches Land Freight Strategy

Federal Infrastructure Minister Anthony Albanese today launched Australia’s first integrated National Land Freight Strategy

Albo launches Land Freight Strategy
Albo launches Land Freight Strategy

By Anna Game-Lopata | September 7, 2012

Federal Infrastructure Minister Anthony Albanese has launched Australia’s first National Land Freight Strategy.

Speaking today at an Infrastructure Partnerships Australia (IPA) conference in Melbourne, Minister Albanese said the strategy would be "a long term blueprint for a streamlined, integrated and multimodal transport system capable of moving goods into and out of major ports and around our country quickly, reliably and at the lowest cost".

Developed by Infrastructure Australia and the National Transport Commission, the strategy is based on input from more than 70 industry stakeholders as well as state and territory authorities.

The National Land Freight Strategy provides a framework for a coordinated, national freight network of our ports and the road and rail that link them.

It makes a range of recommendations on matters including the use of more productive freight vehicles; dedicated rail freight infrastructure; and linking proposed ports with transport corridors needed for exports, including for our mineral resources sector.

The strategy also seeks to establish mechanisms to develop a long term pipeline of infrastructure projects attractive to government and private investors and to ensure that the right investments occur at the right time.

"It will now be up to the nation’s Infrastructure and Transport Ministers to work together to develop an action plan for turning the Strategy’s vision into a reality," Albanese told the IPA conference.

"Our freight and logistics network is the lifeblood of the Australian economy.
But at present it is struggling to cope with the existing demands being placed on it, let alone the doubling in freight volumes expected between now and 2030."

Underpinned by principles including integrated planning, better use of existing infrastructure and more sustainable financing arrangements, the strategy aims
to build a freight and logistics network that supports rather than hinders Australia’s future economic development.

"The National Land Freight Strategy will replacie fragmented, ad hoc decision-making with a proper, long term planning approach that identifies the existing and yet-to-be built roads, rail lines, intermodals, ports and airports," Albanese says.

Among other goals, this process will endeavour to protect current and future transport corridors and other strategic pieces of land from urban encroachment.

Albanese says in practice, utilising infrastructure better could require new technology to improve traffic flows along major motorways, using higher productivity vehicles, creating dedicated freight routes and separating passenger trains from freight trains.

"While in recent years there’s been a surge in spending on the nation’s roads (up 50 per cent), railways (up 118 per cent) and ports (up 305 per cent), building and maintaining a network fit for purpose requires mechanisms for ensuring the right investment occurs in the right place at the right time,"
he says.

adds Federal Labor is
tending to the nation’s immediate infrastructure needs with its $36 billion Nation Building Program which among other things is rebuilding more than a third of the Interstate Rail Freight Network.

"Together with the National Ports Strategy – which all the State and Territory Governments have now signed up to – the National Land Freight Strategy provides the roadmap our nation needs in order to lift productivity and stay internationally competitive," Albanese says.

The government’s national urban policy expresses the expectation that by 2014 States would develop their own 20 year freight strategies that align with national directions, as part of the Nation Building 2 program.

It also indicates the National Land Freight Strategy will inform future Australian Government investments and reform policies.

These issues will be discussed at the next meeting of the Standing Council on Transport and Infrastructure, to be held 27 September.

By 2020:

  • truck traffic is predicted to increase by 50 per cent from 5.7 to 8.5 billion kilometres
  • Rail freight is expected to jump 90 per cent from 235 to 445 billion tonne kilometres
  • The number of containers crossing the nation’s wharves will increase by 150 per cent from 6.2 to 15.4 million

The volume of freight flown into and out of Australia has more than doubled over the last twenty years and is expected to increase by almost 110 per cent from 5.5 to 11.4 billion tonne kilometres by 2030.

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