AusRAIL, Market Sectors

ARA says rail resurgence will continue

<span class="" id="parent-fieldname-description"> As the rail industry’s peak body, the Australasian Railway Association’s (ARA) vision is for rail to become the transport mode of choice across our country. ARA CEO Bryan Nye shares his views on how our industry is faring on this journey. </span> <p>It’s been a big year for rail and The AusRAIL 2012 conference was a great way to finish off the year.</p><p>Having Canberra as the host city of AusRail for the first time meant senior federal politicians, departmental staff and many nationally based key stakeholders could be directly engaged face to face to discuss issues critical to the rail industry. Being able to host events such as Rail on the Hill and the AusRAIL gala dinner at parliament house also meant every single opportunity to advocate rail to our nation’s key decision makers was taken.</p><p>The major message to take home from the conference was that rail is on the way up, and an investment in rail is one of the best public or private investments you can make.</p><p>The resurgence of light rail locally and internationally, in addition to high speed rail projects underway and operational in numerous countries, has meant discussions of a high-speed rail network of our own was firmly on the agenda in 2012. </p><p>Phase two of the Federal Government’s High-Speed Rail Study is due out in early 2013. It isn’t just the rail industry and rail enthusiasts who are keenly anticipating this latest report into a project that has the potential to change the very foundations of transport in our nation. High speed rail would give our cities a solid social and economic backbone to ensure we remain globally competitive throughout the 21st century.</p><p>2012 also saw progress being made on existing rail projects such as the Gold Coast Rapid Transit, The North West Rail Link in Sydney, Regional Rail Link in Victoria and the Moreton Bay Rail Link north of Brisbane. The end of the year also saw the promising announcement of new light rail projects for Sydney and Canberra.</p><p>The trackSAFE Foundation has made remarkable progress and is off to an excellent start since it was launched in March of 2012. With strong support from rail operators and the unions, trackSAFE has succeeded in gaining the attention of media, forming meaningful partnerships, namely with Lifeline and beyondblue, launching itself into the international rail safety community, and initiating a range of projects that are making a difference.</p><p>Promisingly, when benchmarked against international equivalents, trackSAFE is doing exceptionally well in addressing complex, multi-faceted issues.<br />Rail Safety Week ran from the 13th to the 19th of August in its seventh year, attracting media coverage and spreading rail safety messages throughout Australasian communities.&nbsp More than 20 companies throughout Australia and New Zealand participated in the week, promoting the theme ‘Use your brain, tracks are for trains’.&nbsp&nbsp </p><p>September 2012 marked 100 years since Governor General Lord Denman turned the first sod in Port Augusta to build the Trans-Australian Railway Line.</p><p>The centenary of this major milestone in Australia’s history that ensured Western Australia joined the Federation was celebrated in Port Augusta.&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp <br />The centenary was used as an opportunity to showcase the old against the new, with a special train of Australia’s newest locomotives from a range of operators running from Adelaide – Port Augusta and back for the event</p><p>2012 also saw the formation of the Moving People 2030 taskforce, which was officially launched by the minister for infrastructure and transport Anthony Albanese in March.</p><p>The Taskforce will present a report in March 2013 which will provide a vision for an active and productive Australia through to 2030 focussed on planning, land use and transport and a roadmap for governments to achieve it. </p><p>The establishment of this taskforce is providing an avenue to address the challenges we face in Australia. Exploring innovative funding arrangements and tax incentives that encourage greater public transport use will help combat some of Australia’s growing challenges such as relieving the congestion on our roads, decreasing our carbon footprint, connecting communities and creating a safer and healthier Australia</p><p>The Taskforce is made up of the Australian Local Government Association, Australian Logistics Council, Australasian Railway Association, Bus Industry Confederation, Cycling Promotion Fund, National Heart Foundation, International Association of Public Transport, Planning Institute of Australia, and Tourism and Transport Forum.</p><p>The message is spreading that heavy or light passenger rail provides the best return for investment in mass transit whether it’s to ease congestion, improve the environment, or help social exclusion.</p><p>Looking forward, an efficient freight rail network with connections to terminals and ports is being increasingly recognised as the most economic and safest way to move goods between cities. Getting more freight off the roads and on the tracks remains a key challenge for 2013.</p><p>Productivity gains rely on the right investment and here in Australia we have a strong manufacturing sector to provide for our industry in 2013. In terms of rail manufacturing, developing a national local content policy will give clarity for investment in facilities and jobs and improved supply chains will ensure our manufacturers can compete internationally.</p><p>So from everyone at the Australasian Railway Association, we wish you a safe and happy 2013, and we look forward to what it will bring</p><p>Regards, Bryan Nye,<br />CEO, ARA<br />&nbsp</p>