Bipartisan support to protect infrastructure corridors and fund freight rail is the focus of the Australasian Railway Association’s submission to the inquiry into National Freight and Supply Chain Priorities.
ARA chief executive Danny Broad outlined the association’s 10-point plan for freight rail, which made up its submission, on Thursday.
“The ARA supports the development of a national freight and supply chain strategy to guide long term decision making and investments by both government and industry,” Broad said.
With an 80% growth forecast for Australia’s freight task between 2011 and 2031, Broad said action on freight rail in the near future was “critical”.
“The ARA, on behalf of the rail industry has identified 10 areas that require attention to enable greater efficiency and productivity for rail freight,” he said.
“They include linking future infrastructure funding to the delivery of reform, commitment to a competitively neutral policy approach to ensure domestic rail freight markets can operate as far as possible on a level footing with other modal choices, a national framework for corridor protection, equitable access pricing for road and rail, as well as Commonwealth, State and Territory Government investment into rail.”
Other areas for improvement identified in the ARA’s submission include maximising efficiency on the existing network, addressing ‘externalities’ that impact upon the Australian community negatively, supporting technology developments, addressing jurisdictional inconsistencies and continuing to identify ways to address challenges associated with different track owners.
Broad noted the inquiry was well timed alongside the ARA’s upcoming Rail Freight Conference, which takes place in Sydney on August 17 and 18.
“The conference will further reaffirm the industry’s 10 priorities to creating national freight and supply chain efficiencies and establish a truly nationally efficient and integrated freight transport system,” Broad said.