Infrastructure Priority List welcomed by the freight sector

The Infrastructure Priority List recently released by Infrastructure Australia (IA) has won widespread approval in the freight sector, including the Australian Logistics Council, Australasian Railways Association and the Australian Trucking Association.
ALC: The priority list highlights freight infrastructure opportunities
The Australian Logistics Council (ALC) said the Infrastructure Priority List released by Infrastructure Australia (IA) highlights continued need for targeted investment in freight infrastructure projects that will enhance supply chain efficiency and safety, and make Australia more internationally competitive.
“It is essential that Australia makes infrastructure investment decisions that are based on sound principles and evidence-based assessments regarding a project’s capacity to contribute to our economic strength, and liveability of our communities,” said ALC chairman Philip Davies.
“In the past, the Infrastructure Priority List has helped to build support for investment in critical freight infrastructure projects which are now being undertaken, including Western Sydney Airport, Inland Rail, the Moorebank Intermodal Terminal and more recently the Port Botany freight rail duplication, which was supported in the 2018 Federal Budget.”
“It is especially pleasing to note this year’s list again includes the development of a National Freight and Supply Chain Strategy as a high priority initiative.”
“To further boost the effectiveness of that Strategy when it is released later this year, ALC urges governments to prioritise investment in key freight-related initiatives IA has included in this year’s list, including:

  • Upgrading Chullora Junction to enhance Sydney’s freight rail network;
  • Constructing the North East Link in Melbourne to alleviate traffic congestion and enhance freight efficiency;
  • Pursuing a dedicated freight rail connection from Inland Rail to the Port of Brisbane;
  • Enhancing capacity and traffic flows on the Mitchell and Kwinana Freeways in Perth;
  • Completing the upgrade of the Adelaide North-South road corridor to enhance capacity and efficiency of freight movement to the airport and port precincts;
  • Investing in road and rail improvements on the Burnie to Hobart freight corridor;
  • Implementation of the Advanced Train Management System on the ARTC network; and
  • Establishing a national electric vehicle fast-charging network to overcome ‘range anxiety’ among freight logistics operators.

“Australia must do everything possible to eliminate capacity constraints in our freight networks if we wish to succeed in an increasingly competitive global market. Securing investment in these priority projects will help to deliver that outcome.”
ARA backs IA’s strong rail focus in Infrastructure Priority List
The Australasian Railway Association (ARA) has also welcomed Infrastructure Australia’s (IA) 2019 Infrastructure Priority List.
“IA plays an important role in identifying key infrastructure problems and opportunities to ensure investment is appropriately targeted to areas of greatest need,” said ARA CEO Danny Broad.
“The rail projects included in IA’s 2019 Infrastructure Priority List are important nation-building initiatives and are endorsed by the rail sector,” he continued.
“Pleasingly, there are more rail projects and initiatives in the report compared to the 2018 Infrastructure Priority List, with 54 of the 125 projects and initiatives rail-related.
“As Australia’s population grows, rail infrastructure will increasingly become the backbone to meet Australia’s growing passenger and freight needs. To manage the challenges posed in our cities and regions in the long-term, Australia will need to ensure that it continuously invests in rail infrastructure.
“We know that rail is an efficient, environmentally and socially beneficial mode of transport. We also know that rail has lower emissions than road transport, is safer and can help reduce congestion in our cities.
“The significance of these rail projects identified by IA warrants investment from governments at all levels. Our networks of infrastructure and services connect people and communities, support freight transport across the country, help deliver our resources to overseas markets and continue to generate economic growth and employment,” he said.
ATA welcomes updated Infrastructure Priority List
Infrastructure Australia’s updated Infrastructure Priority List illustrates the importance of evidence-based investment decisions, chairman of the Australian Trucking Association Geoff Crouch said.
“The Infrastructure Priority List provides critical focus on the need to invest in safer regional roads and fixing urban congestion,” Mr Crouch said.
“The new project calling for regional road network safety improvements to invest in fixing high-risk sections of regional roads and deliver safer road infrastructure is a critical priority.
“Infrastructure Australia reports that relative to population size, the number of fatalities in regional areas is over four times higher than for major cities.
“This project now requires government support across Australia, and the ATA strongly welcomes the inclusion of a similar new project by the NSW Government to make regional road safety improvements in NSW.
“Governments should also support the call for a roads network optimisation program to address urban congestion.
“First added to the priority list in 2016 but still without a government proponent, Infrastructure Australia has again reconfirmed the need for governments to make multiple, co-ordinated, productivity enhancements to the road network to reduce congestion.
“These investments should be based on data and seek to optimise traffic flows through investments such as intersection treatments, traffic light sequencing, clearways and incident management.”
The ATA also welcomes the continued inclusion and expansion of projects to address major road investment priorities.
“There’s a long list of proposed road, highway and motorway projects which would make a significant investment to improving safety, connectivity and productivity on the road network,” Mr Crouch said.
Future updates to the Infrastructure Priority List should expand the network-based focus on improving roads to include regional and outback highways and corridors.
“The need to make better use and enable more productive connectivity extends beyond our major cities and their rural hinterlands, and Infrastructure Australia should include network optimisation and access for investing in better regional and outback highways in future priority list updates,” Mr Crouch said.

Submissions sought for IA's 2018 Infrastructure Priority List

Infrastructure Australia (IA) is calling on Australian governments and leaders to identify infrastructure problems and opportunities of national significance as part of its 2018 Infrastructure Priority List (IPL) update.
Submissions are open until 27 October this year, with the revised IPL due for publication in February next year.
“We are keen for states and territories and other partners to submit initiatives that solve the most pressing infrastructure problems facing our nation,” said Infrastructure Australia CEO Philip Davies in a statement.
“The 2018 IPL will build on the current list, with new initiatives to reflect emerging infrastructure priorities across Australia, and updates to existing initiatives,” said Davies.
“We welcome submissions for all types of infrastructure, including programs of related works and programs for network optimisation.”
Proponents can make a submission via the Infrastructure Priority List—Call for submissions page.

IA appoints former Toll executive to board

Infrastructure Australia (IA) has announced a renewed board, featuring representatives with experience across many areas of infrastructure.
Julieanne Alroe, the new chair of the board, is CEO and Managing Director of the Brisbane Airport Corporation and has served on the IA board since June 2015.
Former senior Toll executive Andrew Ethell has also joined the board, along with Reece Waldock, former Director-General of the Western Australian Department of Transport; Deena Shiff, former senior Telstra executive; and Dr Peter Wood former Evans & Peck executive.
“I am really pleased that the diverse experience of the new appointees – across telecommunications, trucking and logistics, state government transport delivery and consulting engineering – will complement the skills of the continuing board members,” said Paul Fletcher, Minister for Urban Infrastructure.
“I warmly thank outgoing board members Mark Birrell, Gerard Blood, Michael Carapiet and Peter Watson for their service. I particularly want to note the outstanding contribution of Mark Birrell, as chair and previously a board member.
“The Coalition Government has established a stronger role for Infrastructure Australia and Mr Birrell has overseen significant projects, including the Australian Infrastructure Audit—the nation’s first comprehensive examination of infrastructure across the energy, telecommunications, water and transport sectors—and the delivery of the first 15–year Australian Infrastructure Plan.
The Australian Logistics Council (ALC) welcomed the new appointments, particularly the appointment of the ALC’s former Deputy Chairman and Honorary Fellow, Andrew Ethell.
Ethell served on the ALC’s Board from 2008 until 2017, and was Deputy Chairman for almost that entire period.
“This appointment recognises Andrew’s considerable expertise across the policy issues of vital importance to Australia’s freight logistics industry,” saidMichael Kilgariff, Managing Director, ALC.
“We likewise welcome the appointment of Julianne Alroe as the new Chair of IA, as well as the appointment of Deena Schiff and Reece Waldock to the Board, and welcome the continuing service of Nicole Lockwood, given her expertise in freight logistics matters.
“[The] ALC also acknowledges the contributions of the outgoing IA Board members. We especially thank outgoing Chairman, Mark Birrell, who has been a reliable ally for our industry over many years.”
“ALC has been one of IA’s most vocal supporters. As the nation’s independent infrastructure umpire, we believe IA plays a critical role in advancing the infrastructure projects Australia needs to promote economic and employment growth,” he said.
“These include transformational projects such as Inland Rail, the Moorebank Intermodal Terminal in NSW, the Western Sydney Airport and, of course, recommending the development of a comprehensive National Freight and Supply Chain Strategy, which is being undertaken by the Federal Government.
“Andrew Ethell’s wealth of experience and close involvement in issues affecting the freight logistics sector will add an important perspective to IA’s deliberative processes.”

ALC says freight “crucial” to city development

The Australian Logistics Council (ALC) has stressed the importance of efficient and safe supply chains in its submission to the House of Representatives’ enquiry into the Australian Government’s role in the development of cities.
“The essential items most Australians take for granted – our food, household appliances, clothing, medications and cars, to name just a handful – are generally not grown or manufactured close to the cities where most of us live,” said Michael Kilgariff, Managing Director, ALC.
“Because of this, it is critical that as the Australian Government develops and implements their cities policies, adequate attention is given to the way freight moves in our cities.
“While urban renewal has become a policy priority for state and local governments, the reality is land-use changes, made to allow further residential and commercial developments, are increasingly impinging on the efficiency of Australia’s supply chains.”
Kilgariff added that operations at nationally significant infrastructure facilities including Port Botany, Fremantle Port and the Port of Melbourne are currently, or are at risk of, being constrained due to urban encroachment.
“A truly safe and efficient supply chain needs to be able to operate round the clock, so that freight movement is able to occur at all times and operators can take advantage of off-peak road traffic volumes,” he said.
“[The] ALC’s submission also discusses the importance of corridor protection. For example, a recent study by Infrastructure Australia (IA) found that, with adequate corridor protections in place, $66 million could be saved when a future freight rail line is constructed to the Port of Brisbane.
“A discussion on CBD freight delivery, the separation of passenger and freight infrastructure and insufficient integration of new and existing transport infrastructure also forms part of [the] ALC’s submission.”
The ALC will be appearing before the Committee to elaborate on its submission at a Public Hearing in Canberra on Friday, 11 August.


IA endorses corridor protection imperative

Infrastructure Australia (IA) has released a policy paper on the importance of land preservation for future infrastructure needs, Corridor Protection: Planning and investing for the long term.
The Australian Logistics Council (ALC) welcomed the paper, noting that it “powerfully demonstrates the importance of corridor protection in preventing cost blowouts, project delays and community disruption on infrastructure projects.”
“[The] ALC has consistently worked to highlight the necessity of corridor preservation as part of a consistent and coherent approach to developing Australia’s national freight infrastructure,” said Michael Kilgariff, Managing Director, ALC.
“Good planning leads to good infrastructure outcomes for the community,” he added. “Preserving corridors to accommodate the infrastructure needed to meet our future freight task lies at the heart of responsible planning policy.
“This new policy paper from IA adds to the weight of evidence demonstrating just how vital corridor preservation is. Making the right decisions today not only helps to reduce the cost of infrastructure projects in the future, but also avoids community conflict and social dislocation by providing certainty as to land use.”
Kilgariff noted that corridor protection was a core theme during a recent ALC workshop held in Brisbane, due to the need to preserve a corridor that will permit an alternative dedicated freight rail connection from the Inland Rail route through to the Port of Brisbane.
“It is pleasing to note IA’s policy paper highlights this very project as one that would substantially benefit from taking immediate action on the matter,” he added. “IA estimates potential savings of $66 million could be achieved if governments act quickly to protect this freight corridor.
“Of course it is equally important to preserve land and corridors in Melbourne, to permit development of an interstate freight terminal that will enable a port-to-port connection for Inland Rail.”

Melbourne’s second port to be built – in 2055

Infrastructure Victoria has made recommendations to the Andrews government that Melbourne’s second major container port should be built near Werribee, but not for another 40 years, The Age reports.
The suggested site, Bay West, is located between Werribee and Point Wilson, though Infrastructure Victoria notes that it will not be needed until container traffic outgrows capacity at the Port of Melbourne, estimated to happen by 2055.
The port’s container terminal would offshore a four-kilometre industrial island connected via a 1.5-kilometre road and rail bridge.
Road and rail links would need to be established across Melbourne Water’s Western Treatment Plant, a protected site for birdlife.
Infrastructure Australia decided to remove another contender from the running, the Port of Hastings in the south-east of Melbourne, due to to the estimated $5 billion cost of connecting it to Melbourne’s rail network via the Pakenham-Cranbourne line, and the risk of increasing shipping traffic in the ecologically delicate Western Port.
The advisory body did add that the Port of Hastings could perform a supporting role, dealing with shipping of non-containerised goods.
The Australian Logistics Council (ALC) welcomed Infrastructure Victoria’s advice on securing Victoria’s future ports capacity.
“[The] ALC provided a submission to Infrastructure Victoria which stated that the Port of Melbourne should be able to operate as efficiently as possible for as long as possible,” said ALC Managing Director, Michael Kilgariff.
“[The] ALC will continue to advocate that the recent lease of the Port of Melbourne should ensure it has an operational life of 50 years. Significant long-term investments made by those in the freight logistics industry must be respected and supported by all governments.
“The fact that a second container port has been mooted for operation post-2055, should not prevent much-needed infrastructure, such as the port rail shuttle, from being planned, financed and built as soon as practicable,” he added.
“We also look forward to the Victorian Government’s response to Infrastructure Victoria’s 30-Year Infrastructure Strategy, which incorporated practical measures such as protecting freight precincts, improving rail access at the Port of Melbourne and progressing the Western Interstate freight terminal.”

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.

Infrastructure Australia CEO warns of freight task ahead

Speaking at the Australian Logistics Council’s (ALC) recent forum ‘Getting the Supply Chain Right’, Philip Davies, CEO of independent advisory body Infrastructure Australia, highlighted the need for Australia to consider the long-term threats to Australia’s supply chain network.
“We need a national freight and supply chain strategy and reforms to identify economic competitiveness linked to goods and services, and linked domestically and overseas,” he said.
One challenges he identified – population growth – would, he explained offer both positive and negative outcomes.
“Growth is good,” he said. “It’s beneficial for the economy, due to the increased size of the labour force, but there could be greater delays, more bottlenecks. The quality of the services we provide will decline without proper organisation.”
Davies shared that the land freight task will increase 80% from 2011 to 2031, but the cost of inaction in that same timeframe to the Government will be $5.3 billion.
“It’s necessary to judge if projects have strategic and economic merit,” he said. “In future, we will need a greater national approach to this – they’re very much national issues but we have no cohesive strategy.
“We need to develop this strategy through a highly consultative and collaborative process, identify network constraints and gaps, create a sustainable source of revenue for maintenance of infrastructure, and provide clear recommendations to the Government and industry.”

ALC urges thorough analysis of Very Fast Train proposal

Any proposal to build a Very Fast Train (VFT) from Sydney to Melbourne should be passed straight to Infrastructure Australia (IA) for a thorough cost-benefit analysis, according to Michael Kilgariff, Managing Director of the Australian Logistics Council (ALC).
Kilgariff was commenting on a reported proposal by Consolidated Land and Rail Australia (CLARA), an Australian-based consortium that says it has secured almost 20,000ha for new development sites along the rail corridor. CLARA says it will present an unsolicited bid to the Prime Minister within the first half of this year, funded by ‘value capture’.
Kilgariff said infrastructure funds were too scarce to commit to any significant project unless it had the full scrutiny of Infrastructure Australia. “There is a real risk that funds which ought to be devoted to worthwhile projects, such as Inland Rail, will be squandered on the VFT project,” he said. “ALC firmly believes that major projects need to have an independent detailed cost-benefit analysis.
“To date, all VFT proposals have failed any rigorous cost-benefit analysis. If anything the VFT case will become weaker in the light of the approval of Sydney’s second airport.”
“IA’s Infrastructure Priority List has identified Inland Rail as a Priority Project, noting the long-term benefits to potential users of the project, users of alternative infrastructure, and the broader economy,” Kilgariff added. “The trouble with committing to a VFT is that it would divert funds from more worthwhile projects, such as Inland Rail, at a time when the Sydney-Canberra-Melbourne passenger corridor is reasonably well-served.”
Kilgariff said there were also grounds for caution and scepticism about plans to ‘value capture’ increases in land prices to fund infrastructure – as shown in the ALC submission to the Federal Government discussion paper Using Value Capture to Help Deliver Major Land Transport Infrastructure last year.
“Proponents often couch big infrastructure proposals as ‘no cost to government’, but inevitably taxpayers are asked to contribute and they are entitled to demand value for money and wise allocation of resources,” he said.
CLARA has reportedly secured 50 per cent of the land needed to build eight new cities along the train line, with the company’s chairman and co-founder Nick Cleary said the project was driven by the prospect of turning cow paddocks into prime property, according to The Australian. “This is a real estate plan as opposed to a railway plan,” he reportedly said.

Infrastructure Australia to host 2011-12 conference series


Entitled Meeting the Big Challenges to Australia’s Infrastructure, the 2011-12 conference series will bring together industry players, academics and policy-makers to take stock of the nation’s long-term needs, raise the big questions and debate the possible solutions.


The first of these conferences will discuss the ideas and reforms being put forward by the Infrastructure Finance Working Group.


Chaired by Treasury Deputy Secretary Jim Murphy, this body was established to advise on the implementation of the new tax incentives contained in the 2011-12 Budget as well as to identifying further measures to attract even more private investment in public infrastructure.


The following six conferences in the series will tackle a range of topics, namely:

  • Joining the dots: indigenous infrastructure.

  • Ports and cities.

  • User pays: ideology vs. economics.

  • Do Australians deserve quality drinking water?

  • Roads: Who Pays

  • Road Safety.

For more information about Infrastructure Australia’s 2011-12 Conference Series go to:

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