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ALC eyes rail and ATA safety as Budget priorities

Port rail links and freight strategy head wishlist, while ATA has safety commission focus


The Australian Logistics Council (ALC) has reiterated its call for the Federal government to fund the duplication of existing rail lines from Port Botany in an announcement ahead of the release of the 2018-19 Budget next week.

According to the NSW government, duplicating the existing 2.8km section of rail line between Port Botany and Enfield would help improve rail efficiency and support existing intermodal terminals at Minto, Yennora, Chullora and Enfield.

A proposal to duplicate the rail line is currently at the planning stage, with Infrastructure Australia naming the project as a High Priority Initiative earlier this year.

ALC managing director Michael Kilgariff said the benefits of duplicating the rail line would be felt well beyond New South Wales.

“Continued delays to the completion of this project will have significant economic consequences,” Kilgariff says.

“Similarly, the Government should build on the investment made in Inland Rail last year by supporting dedicated connections to key ports, and by making freight rail projects eligible for funding support under the existing National Rail Program.”

Kilgariff also reiterated calls for the government to establish a Freight Strategy and Planning Division within the Department of Infrastructure, Regional Development and Cities, which he said would help ensure freight was made a priority in policy making.

“A lack of data about supply chain performance is a major frustration for industry participants – and establishing a body that can effectively fill this gap and help guide more effective investment decisions is critical.”

The ALC made the calls in its Commonwealth Budget Commission 2018-19, released in December last year, as two of a list of 12 key priorities for the freight and logistics industry.

Others in the list included the government providing incentive payments to state and local governments to ensure planning outcomes are met and development of a National Transport Corridor Protection Strategy and an Industry Code of Practice under the Heavy Vehicle National Law (HVNL).

ATA’s safety agenda

In its pre-Budget submission, also released in December 2017, the Australian Trucking Association (ATA) called for the 2018-19 Budget to establish an independent safety commission to provide advice and fund non-infrastructure projects for improving road safety.

It was among a series of calls for a greater government focus on safety, including funding the Australian Transport Safety Bureau to build a database of serious heavy vehicle accidents and of coronial recommendations surrounding them, and more funding for the Heavy Vehicle Safety Initiatives program.

The ATA also called for the development of an independent National Road Investment Fund to improve the effectiveness of road investment, and for a new program to help open up new routes for gazetted heavy vehicle access.

“[The government should] require new toll road investments to prioritise urban freight efficiency and connectivity, and prevent the setting of heavy vehicle toll charges that seek to maximise revenue and distort the efficiency of the transport network,” the association said.

“Revenue from heavy vehicle charges, including the increased overcharging in 2018-19, should be returned to road transport with increased road safety and better roads funding.”


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