NatRoad boss applauds IA congestion focus


Praise for aim to cut congestion as rail groups welcome priority status

NatRoad boss applauds IA congestion focus
National Road Transport Association CEO Warren Clark

 

National Road Transport Association CEO Warren Clark has added his voice to the praise of Infrastructure Australia’s (IA) Infrastructure Priority List, saying cutting congestion would be a great win for the freight industry.

"Urban congestion is an increasing threat to our industry and congestion on our roads not only puts pressure on the productivity of our road freight network but also has serious impacts on the safety of our roads," he says.

"Investment in appropriate road infrastructure is especially vital in light of recent concerns regarding heavy vehicle accidents.

"Any work that can be done to reduce fatalities on Australian roads to zero should always be treated as a priority."

The comments come after Infrastructure Australia, an independent infrastructure advisory body, released its new list of priorities, in which five of the six "High Priority Projects" were aimed at reducing urban congestion. Click here to find out more.

The Australian Logistics Council (ALC) said yesterday that the Infrastructure Priority List, which named the projects it says will be most significant for Australia over the next 15 years, confirms an ongoing need for investment in freight infrastructure projects.

ALC managing director Michael Kilgariff urges governments to pay attention to what he says are the "key freight-related initiatives IA has identified in this year’s list."

"An export-driven economy like Australia must do everything possible to eliminate capacity constraints in our freight networks if we wish to succeed in an increasingly competitive global market," he says.

Kilgariff singled out a number of projects which IA defined as "High Priority Initiatives", saying they sought to address a major problem, but for which no business case had been prepared.

These included:

  • The Sydney Gateway connecting WestConnex to Port Botany & Sydney Airport;
  • The Port Botany Freight Rail Duplication to boost port efficiency;
  • The Chullora Junction upgrade to enhance Sydney’s freight rail network;
  • Preserving the corridor for the Western Sydney Airport fuel pipeline;
  • Preserving the corridor for Western Sydney Freight Line and Intermodal Terminal access; and
  • Improving connection between Melbourne’s Eastern Freeway and CityLink.

"Securing investment in these priority projects will be critical in allowing Australia to meet its growing freight task, and driving economic and employment growth," he says.

Kilgariff also encouraged governments to take note of IA’s support of the Inland Rail project, which along with upgrades to the rail line between Beerburrum and Nambour in northern Queensland were identified as Priority Projects by the IA report.

Australasian Railway Association (ARA) CEO Danny Broad welcomes the addition of the projects to the list, noting that the Sydney Metro City & Southwest rail project, which will see tunnels built between Chatswood and Sydenham stations, had been assessed as a High Priority project.

"As Australia’s population grows by around 1.5 per cent a year, rail infrastructure will be the backbone to Australia’s growing passenger and freight needs," he says.

"To manage the challenges posed to our cities and regions in the long-term, Australia will need to ensure that it continuously invests in rail infrastructure."

Australian Greens transport spokeswoman Janet Rice also weighed in on the list, saying infrastructure planning should prioritise public transport to reduce pollution and congestion.

"In Melbourne, our existing rail and tram services are packed full because people want to use public transport. But we’re not meeting demand, and need to provide more services," she says.

"Infrastructure Australia has included a number of public transport priorities on their priority list, and governments must get those congestion-busting projects moving before turning our cities into a tangled mess of freeways."

 

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