The Queensland Government State Infrastructure Plan released today is a milestone and in conjunction with Building Queensland, is a welcome recognition by the Queensland Government of the need to separate infrastructure decision making from the political cycle according to the Australian Logistics Council.
“The Plan recognises that freight movement across the state is forecast to increase from 871 million tonnes in 2010–11 to between 1643 and 1741 million tonnes by 2026”, said Michael Kilgariff, Managing Director of ALC.
“It is essential that appropriate infrastructure be provided in the right place at the right time to support that freight growth.
“The State Infrastructure Plan paves the way for improved freight efficiency and the reasons for doing so are compelling.
“If we can squeeze just a 1% percent improvement in our national supply chains, the economic benefits are significant, with research showing it would boost national GDP by $2 billion.
“Taken in conjunction with Infrastructure Australia’s 15-Year Infrastructure Plan, the State Infrastructure Plan should boost the efficiency of Queensland supply chains and in turn, underpin economic growth”, he said.
Mr Kilgariff said it was notable that the Queensland freight strategy, Moving Freight, the National Ports Strategy and the Queensland Ports Strategy (among others) informed transport infrastructure investment in Queensland.
“The Queensland Ports Strategy in particular is a policy instrument that particularly helps to identify (and therefore protect) the transport corridors and employment necessary to allow the efficient movement of freight from generation points to port”, he said.
“Infrastructure Australia has also recommended that a National Freight and Supply Chain Strategy should be developed to put in place a long term plan incorporating the various, interlinked components of our national and international supply chains.
“A key consideration for ALC therefore is that planning decisions must place a positive legal duty on decision makers to give effect to all these freight and logistics plans, not just inform, when making either planning instruments or decisions governing land use”, he said.
“All too often, freight has been the ‘poor cousin’ when it comes to land development, and as such, key freight routes have been encroached upon or effectively built out,” he said.
Mr Kilgariff also welcomed the commitment of $95m, out of a total $300m infrastructure spend, to the North Coast Line Capacity Improvement project.
“However it is disappointing that no substantial commitment has been given to the Brisbane/Melbourne Inland Rail and the necessary port and freight infrastructure requirements between Port of Brisbane and Toowoomba to make that project a reality”, he said.