Operators win in Victorian Budget

The Victorian Transport Association (VTA) has welcomed several initiatives outlined by Treasurer Tim Pallas in his third State Budget that will help freight operators under pressure from expanding road user charges and shrinking margins to realise productivity gains, and experience greater success.
Chief among these, according to VTA CEO Peter Anderson are $556 million for improvements to Victoria’s regional road network, including $41 million to upgrade 17 bridges on freight routes to handle High-Productivity Freight Vehicles (HPFVs); a $1.45 billion Regional Rail Revival package to upgrade rail networks in Gippsland, Central Victoria, the Surf Coast and the state’s south west; $700 million over four years to upgrade the M80 Ring Road; $556 million for improvements to Victoria’s regional road network, including $41 million to upgrade 17 bridges on freight routes to handle High-Productivity Freight Vehicles (HPFV’s); a $300 million commitment to connect the Mornington Peninsula Freeway with the Dingley Bypass via a new Mordialloc Bypass; a $100 million commitment to fund planning and pre-construction activities for the much-needed completion of the M80 Ring Road via the North East Link; and $58 million for vital maintenance on the West Gate Bridge.
“All up, the Budget contains close to $2 billion for new construction and upgrades to Victoria’s road network, which is vital for the freight industry to move goods and keep the economy ticking over,” said Anderson.
“Payroll tax relief for SMEs in regional Victoria will encourage significant investments in those businesses, and generate jobs and growth.
“The $100 million investment in pre-construction and planning for the North East Link is welcome news, and comes after 18 months of concerted lobbying by the VTA and business and road user groups for a commitment to the connection with serious funding.”
Anderson added that the Regional Rail Revival package outlined in the Budget is a vital part of a suite of initiatives either planned or under construction to reduce congestion on roads throughout the state, by offering alternatives to passenger vehicle use and freeing up the road network for freight movements.
With the project contingent on federal funding, however, the VTA has encouraged the Victorian and Commonwealth governments to set aside their political differences and reach an urgent agreement on Victorian infrastructure funding, which continues to significantly lag behind other states.
Road congestion and inadequate road and rail infrastructure remain the number one impediment to better productivity among freight operators.
“The State Budget handed down today contains much for the industry to be encouraged about, and we thank the Government for listening to our concerns,” he said.

Queensland State Infrastructure Plan a Milestone

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.

Terrapinn: Over 1,000 rail leaders head to Hong Kong for Asia pacific rail 2016

Asia's rail industry is poised for serious growth. With over 6,500km of rail projects currently planned or announced in Asia, billions are being invested into the region.

But there are still challenges to overcome –we need infrastructure upgrades, we need to improve cost management of these mega projects, and of course, we need to deliver on passengers' increasing expectations as we move into the age of the smart digital railway.

Returning for the 18th year in Hong Kong this March 2016, Asia Pacific Rail will bring rail leaders from across the globe together under one roof to tackle these challenges head on. In 2016, the event will be bigger and better than ever before, with more content, more speakers, more networking, a larger exhibition and over 1,000 attendees. 

The two day conference will feature exciting innovations in metro, high-speed rail, mainline passenger and freight, all focused on the theme of enhancing operational excellence and passenger experience to improve your bottom line.

Sharing their insights are senior leaders from MTR, London Underground, Auckland Transport, China Railways, Delhi Metro Rail Corporation, Hyperloop Technologies, Myanmar Railways, Heathrow Express, SMRT Corporation, Seoul Line 9 Operation, State Railway of Thailand, Sydney Trains, Jaipur Metro Rail Corporation.

Alongside the senior level conference, the exhbition will feature over 35 exhibitors, 20 technical seminar presentations and up to 1,000 attendees walking the floor. Product demonstrations, networking and seminar presentations will be providing visitors with a one-stop shop gaining insights and updates on the industry.

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