SAFC calls for election clarity on freight intentions

Bipartisanship call on infrastructure planning and investment as state poll looms

SAFC calls for election clarity on freight intentions
Peak body bemoans lack of long-term clarity on freight strategy

The South Australian Freight Council (SAFC) has voiced mounting concern at the lack of focus from major parties on transport infrastructure investment.

With state and federal political landscapes becoming littered with abandoned transport plans upon changes of government, seemingly more for political than practical reasons, the SAFC is worried the same is about to happen in its state.

And the lack of detail from the Liberal Party, which is favoured to win the state election, is not helping and the peak body is urging politician to take base politics out of freight-focused prioritisation and spending that transcends the election cycle.

"Transport Infrastructure announcements grabbing the head-lines this election include Labor’s intentions if re-elected to continue the electrification of the passenger rail network to Salisbury, while the Liberals have stated they will not make any transport infrastructure spending announcements ahead of the election," the SAFC has told it members.

"The state Liberal party however have promised, if elected, to develop a State Transport Plan that would nullify the current State Government’s Draft Integrated Transport and Land Use Plan (ITLUP).

"SAFC and the Transport Industry as a whole understand that an efficient, effective, internationally competitive, multi-modal, state-wide freight system is essential in enabling the State’s development and prosperity.

"For this very reason it is important, regardless of who forms the next State Government, that there is bipartisan support for a committed and comprehensive Integrated Planning Regime."

Where the political strategies cause most angst centres on Adelaide’s biggest road infrastructure upgrade.

SAFC CEO Neil Murphy points out that Labor supports the $900 million Torrens to Torrens element of the North-South Corridor project, while the Liberals support the $1 billion Darlington Project, which was mentioned in Federal Transport Minister Warren Truss’ spending announcement as $500 million for the upgrade of South Road in Adelaide.

"No other individual projects on the corridor have been mentioned and neither party has outlined how they would take up the Prime Minister’s commitment to up-grade the full corridor over the coming decade, a commitment that was repeated last week by PM Abbott at the Liberal campaign launch, but a commitment which is presumably available regardless of who wins the election," Murphy says.

"Progressing this overall project would deliver the much needed forward order book for the State’s building and construction industry.

"Neither party has made any commitments to increased maintenance funding, nor alleviation of Last Mile issues."

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