Trains travelling through Richmond in Victoria will now be running on railway sleepers made from recycled plastic. Read more
Victorian Minister for Roads Jaala Pulford has announced that on-road testing will get underway in an Australian-first trial of connected vehicle technology. Read more
Kaufland Australia has celebrated commencing construction of its distribution centre in Mickleham, Victoria. The facility, with a total projected investment of $255 million, will utilise state-of-the-art technologies across automation, sustainability and efficiency, and create 600 new jobs for the area.
In a joint sod turning, Kaufland Australia directors Maximilian Wiedmann and Patrick Bezner thanked Hume City Council for its work ensuring the distribution centre met all planning and approval requirements.
“We would like to thank everyone who has helped us achieve this exciting milestone. To Hume City Council and to Merrifield Business Park, we are very grateful and proud to be standing alongside you today,” Mr Wiedmann said.
On completion, Kaufland’s distribution centre will have more than 117,000 square metres of building area and 130 loading docks.
“Australia is one of the fastest growing regions in the world, and we are excited to grow with it. Our distribution centre will be the beating heart of our supply chain and will ensure we provide an uncompromising quality food store for our customers,” Mr Wiedmann said.
In March 2019, Kaufland Australia announced the approval of its first three stores in Victoria at Dandenong, Epping and Chirnside Park. Kaufland Australia has also received planning approval for two sites in South Australia.
Texas-based Emergent Cold is moving further into the Australian market with the acquisition of Victoria- based Oxford Cold Storage.
According to a statement released by the company, this acquisition complements the broader Emergent Cold strategy of creating a global network of cold chain businesses and is subject to regulatory approval.
The organisation recently acquired Australian businesses Swire Cold Storage and Montague Cold Storage.
“This is a very exciting time for the Oxford business. The Emergent acquisition provides our staff with increased opportunities and career development. It will also provide for the opportunity to service clients across Emergent’s substantial geographical footprint and to increase our service offerings,” Paul Fleiszig, Oxford’s Operations and Marketing Director said.
“We look forward to welcoming the Oxford Cold Storage team to the Emergent Cold network. Combining Oxford with our platform will further strengthen our offering to the Australian and International market,” Neal Rider, CEO of Emergent Cold said.
Emergent Cold was founded in 2017 with the vision to be the leading global cold chain services partner for its customers. Emergent Cold has grown through a combination of business acquisitions and new greenfield developments and now has a network of 42 cold stores in five countries.
Cutting-edge automated vehicle technology will be tested in rural Victoria this year in the first on-road trial approved under the new Automated Driving System (ADS) permit scheme.
Acting Premier Jacinta Allan has announced that Bosch has been awarded $2.3 million from the Connected and Automated Vehicle (CAV) Trial Grants Program and granted the state’s first ADS permit for on-road testing of highly automated driving systems.
Last year, Victoria finalised regulations to support the ADS permit scheme, which authorises the use of automated vehicles for testing and development on our roads.
Bosch is currently developing its automated vehicle technology and will begin testing on high-speed rural roads later in 2019. The aim of the Bosch trial is to use the state-of-the-art technology to improve safety on rural Victorian roads – where drivers are five times as likely to be killed in a crash than in metropolitan areas.
The testing will be conducted on roads that expose the automated vehicle to a range of different conditions including traffic, weather and infrastructure.
The $9 million Connected and Automated Vehicle Trial Grants Program is funded through the Andrews Labor Government’s $1.4 billion Towards Zero Action Plan.
In late 2017, VicRoads called for expressions of interest from companies, industry bodies and other transport technology organisations to apply for funding to spur the development of these emerging technologies. which will lead to reduced deaths and serious injuries. Other successful applicants will be announced soon.
The trials will support Victoria’s readiness for CAV technologies and the knowledge gained will provide a better understanding of the infrastructure required to get these vehicles on the road, maximising their safety benefits.
The Andrews Labor Government has announced a new cabinet, including new appointments for roads, transport and freight portfolios, following its re-election in Victoria.
Jacinta Allan, formerly Minister for Public Transport and Employment, has been given the Transport Infrastructure portfolio in the new cabinet.
“The Andrews Government is embarking on the biggest infrastructure program Victoria has ever seen,” according to a statement from Premier Daniel Andrews’ office.
“To ensure this is delivered, Jacinta Allan takes on the portfolio of Transport Infrastructure, with responsibility for projects including the Level Crossing Removal Program, North East Link, West Gate Tunnel, Metro Tunnel and Suburban Rail Loop.”
Ms. Allen leads an all-female transport team with Melissa Horne made Minister for Public Transport and Minister for Ports and Freight, while Jaala Pulford takes on the Roads, Road Safety and the TAC, and Fishing and Boating portfolios.
Luke Donnellan moves on as Minister for Roads and Road Safety to become Minister for Child Protection and Minister for Disability, Ageing and Carers.
The Liberal Nationals plan to revolutionise Victoria’s passenger rail network by delivering European-style high-speed rail right across Victoria, but the details are a little sketchy at this stage.
“Melbourne’s population squeeze is putting enormous stress on our roads, public transport, schools and hospitals and that impacts everyone’s quality of life,” LNP opposition leader Matthew Guy said.
“Unplanned, unmanaged population growth is killing Melbourne’s liveability.”
Bringing Victoria’s cities closer together with European-style high-speed rail is the cornerstone of the Liberal Nationals’ plan to ease the population squeeze by decentralising jobs and the population.
European-style high-speed rail to regional cities would also give Victorians more options for affordable housing, more lifestyle choices and more employment opportunities.
Reaching speeds of up to 200 kilometres per hour, Victoria’s new high-speed rail network is claimed to be the fastest in Australia.
The High-Speed Rail Project would see the rebuilding of much of Victoria’s current Class 1 track to 200 kilometres per hour operation as well as major track improvements on every other passenger rail line.
High-speed rail would almost halve travel times between Melbourne and Geelong and between Melbourne and Traralgon and, within the first term of a Liberal Nationals Government, travel times between Geelong and Melbourne would be slashed to just 32 minutes, an improvement of 26 minutes on the current timetable, the LNP press release says.
This $15 billion to $19 billion super-infrastructure project would be planned and built in three stages over the next ten years.
Detail a bit sketchy, says Labor
The Victorian Labor Government, however, pointed out uncertainties in the opposition leader’s on-radio explanation of the plan, where he was unable to quantify the expenses involved.
MITCHELL: How much does it cost for a kilometre of that track?
GUY: It’s about a million dollars a kilometre if you’re taking out signalling and a range of others.
MITCHELL: For the fast track? It’s a million dollars a kilometre?
GUY: Mmm, there’s more to it, much more to it than that – that’s just talking about your ballast, and uh.. stone, and sleepers, and rail but there’s more to it than that.
MITCHELL: So all up, what’s it cost for the 200km track?
GUY: Well… at the moment you’ve got to upgrade your class one track, it’s a bit more technical than just saying what’s the cost from here to there… You’ve actually got a whole bunch of variables as to where you’re building and what kind of ballast you’re going to use and if you’re going over certain kind of soils and clays and the rest.
ON TICKET COST
MITCHELL: How much will tickets cost? How much will they go up?
GUY: Ha ha ha, I haven’t thought that far ahead!
ON LAND ACQUISITION
MITCHELL: Will you need to acquire land?
GUY: No, you’re using existing reservation.
[NB. The existing rail corridor has curves, angles, and grades not capable of running 200km/h trains.]
ON GEELONG RAIL BY 2022 AND INTERACTION WITH AIRPORT RAIL (NOT OPERATIONAL UNTIL AT LEAST 2027)
MITCHELL: How do you get the Geelong train there faster – you’d reduce the number of stops?
GUY: Well, you can put on an express service which doesn’t stop to complement your existing services, that’s the first instance, the second instance is obviously using the new Airport Rail Lines from Sunshine-in and then adding extra tracks to Wyndham Vale, and that would then give you express lines out.
MITCHELL: Will this affect the Air Rail Link – the link to the Airport?
GUY: No! Quite the contrary, it would complement it. And we would use some of those tracks. Actually I’ve been watching this with great interest I think those express tracks from Sunshine are part of this solution.
CHAVASTEK: Where will the tunnels be on the Gippsland line?
GUY: I’m not going to pre-empt that.
CHAVASTEK: Surely you know.
GUY: This is about six hours old, give me a chance, Nicole.
The Victorian Government has created a one-stop shop for Victoria’s freight industry, joining other states in having a state-based freight authority.
The Victorian Freight Plan, Delivering the Goods, established Freight Victoria as a dedicated, specialist freight division of Transport for Victoria.
Delivering the Goods aims to increase Victoria’s gross product by $40 billion by 2040 and shift more freight onto rail, developing new inland freight terminals and a new freight precinct adjacent to the Port of Melbourne.
It includes plans to deliver the $7.6 million allocated in the 2018/19 Victorian Budget for development of a business case for the Western Interstate Freight Terminal, the extension of the Mode Shift Incentive Scheme, investigations into an integrated logistics hub at the Melbourne Markets and Dynon Road, and the review into heavy vehicle driver training and licensing.
The plan builds on the government’s claimed $40 billion investment in major infrastructure projects, including the Murray Basin Rail Project, the Freight-Passenger Rail Separation Project, West Gate Tunnel, Port Rail Shuttle Network, and bridge strengthening and regional freight route upgrades.
Minister for Public Transport Jacinta Allan said: “Industry has told us they want better coordination with government on the planning, management and delivery of Victoria’s freight and logistics network.”
“That’s why we have established Freight Victoria as a single point of contact, a one-stop-shop for primary producers, the freight and logistics industry and local government to contact for information and assistance.”
Victoria University Polytechnic will train hundreds of workers in the skills they need to take up jobs on the West Gate Tunnel under a new TAFE partnership.
Under the new partnership, the TAFE division of Victoria University will offer civil construction Certificate II, III and IV courses to meet the growing needs of the government’s pipeline of infrastructure projects.
Certificate III in Civil Construction is also part of the Labor Government’s TAFE Free for Priority Courses initiative that will come into effect next year.
To accommodate the additional training needs of the West Gate Tunnel project, Victoria University Polytechnic is planning to reopen its Werribee East campus as a Technology Precinct centred on Civil Construction.
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews said: “We are investing in the big projects we need, like the West Gate Tunnel, and the people we need to build them.
“There are already 1,200 people working on the West Gate Tunnel – this partnership will make sure that young Victorians get the skills they need to help deliver this massive project.”
The West Gate Tunnel is expected to create more than 6,000 jobs, including 500 jobs for apprentices, trainees and graduates, under the Victorian Major Project Skills Guarantee.
As part of the partnership between Victoria University Polytechnic and constructor CPB-John Holland, there’ll also be dedicated courses for trainees and apprentices already employed on the West Gate Tunnel Project.
Construction started on the West Gate Tunnel Project in early 2018 and there are already over 1,200 people working on the job.
Victoria University Polytechnic, a Vocational Education and Training provider, will deliver training to about 15,000 students in 2018, with about 5,000 students engaged in trade-based programs.
In his opening remarks to the Victorian Transport Association’s (VTA) annual State Conference, CEO Peter Anderson called for the introduction of a Victorian Freight Authority to advise Government on the requirements of the transport and logistics industries.
Anderson noted that the VTA has been advocating for policy that supports operators to be successful in business, whether it be new road, rail and port infrastructure to streamline the freight task, or new ways of operating to create efficiencies for various participants in the supply chain.
“An example of this is our advocacy for a Victorian Freight Authority to provide government with the perspective of the transport industry when it comes to decisions impacting planning and development, roads and infrastructure, user charges, the environment, and other public policy matters,’ he said.
“The requirements of operators need to be factored early on in decisions being made by regulators and legislators, which is why are pushing for the creation of an authority like this to ensure your unique needs are being looked after.”
He added that business cost increases seen across the supply-chain industry over the past 12 months have been felt especially by road transport operators.
“We’ve had infrastructure surcharge increases from all the stevedores in Melbourne and elsewhere around the country, road charges are increasing exponentially whether it be fuel and excises, registration, insurance and tolls, and the threat of industrial action throughout many sectors of the economy is arguably the greatest it’s been for a long time, as we saw over Christmas at Webb Dock,” Anderson said.
“Indeed, the possibility of future super unions like we’ve seen with the merger of the CFMEU (Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union) and MUA (Maritime Union of Australia) could have far-reaching negative impacts on employers and supply chains nationally.
“In year’s gone past, operators would typically wear the increases rather than risk losing business to competitors. We need to shift this attitude and educate not only customers, but consumers as well, that increases in costs are going to be passed on through the supply chain, and ultimately to the end-users of the goods transported by operators.”
Without such action, he noted, operators may not have cost recovery increases accepted and will therefore go under, “which is not good for anyone.”
In his speech, Anderson also shared that the VTA’s community outreach efforts have been well received.
“We are getting closer to a really encouraging outcome with resident groups in the inner west of Melbourne near the port who for some time have been concerned about the impacts of heavy-vehicle movements,” he said.
“We’re working on a solution that will create a range of improvements and set new standards for driver training, instruction and vehicle emissions, and ultimately create better harmony between passenger and commercial road users.”