ALC welcomes Budget supply chain boost

The significant infrastructure investments contained in the 2017–18 Federal Budget have the potential to deliver substantial improvements to supply chain efficiency and significantly boost economic growth, according to the Australian Logistics Council (ALC)
“The Government should be commended for making clear commitments to two significant infrastructure projects crucial to the freight and logistics industry,” said Michael Kilgariff, Managing Director, ALC.
“The transformative potential of the Inland Rail project has been talked about for decades, with incremental progress being made over the past several years, including a positive assessment of the business case by Infrastructure Australia. The $8.4 billion commitment announced in the Treasurer’s speech tonight will finally allow its construction. At long last, we can stop merely talking about this project’s potential, and instead begin to witness it.”
Kilgariff added that the establishment of a safe, reliable port-to-port rail link for freight between Melbourne and Brisbane is the only way to simultaneously meet Australia’s burgeoning freight task, alleviate congestion on existing freight networks, create regional jobs and boost growth.
“To fully unleash the benefits of this project, the line must run to the ports of Melbourne and Brisbane, and comprise efficient rail linkages to the ports of Botany, Kembla and Newcastle in NSW,” he added. “We must also support the development of intermodal freight hubs at appropriate intervals along the route.”
Kilgariff also hailed a $5.3 billion commitment to construct the Western Sydney Airport and $75 million to duplicate the Port Botany freight rail line, noting that the projects would bring to fruition “critical” freight infrastructure projects that would further support economic activity and job creation.
“The Budget’s strong focus on infrastructure is timely, coming less than six months after the Federal Government agreed to ALC’s request to develop a National Freight and Supply Chain Strategy,” he added. “We welcome the measures announced tonight as a positive first step in continuing efforts to deliver a safer, more efficient supply chain.
“It’s also pleasing that Infrastructure Australia has been provided with an additional $11.9 million to deliver its core functions of assessing projects and producing an infrastructure pipeline.”
He noted that the proposed new Infrastructure and Project Financing Agency within the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet would need sufficient technical expertise to aid the national leadership in making sound infrastructure funding decisions.
“This includes a willingness to make Commonwealth funding for projects conditional on the implementation of appropriate strategies to protect freight corridors, and minimise urban encroachment on freight infrastructure,” Kilgariff concluded.

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