AusRAIL, Market Sectors

AusLink funding needs to go to ports, says NFF

<p>The National Farmers Federation is pushing for AusLink funding to be expanded to cover ports in its submission to the Government ahead of the 2006&#4707 Budget.</p> <p>The federation said the nation’s ports needed to be better regulated and managed, with funding from AusLink.</p> <p>A greater focus on improving the rail network was also essential, it said.</p> <p>It has recommended a $150m one-off capital injection in the 15 restricted branch lines in New South Wales, vital for safe and efficient transport of the wheat harvest.</p> <p>An upgrade to the Victorian rail network to allow more efficient axle loadings of up to 23-tonnes per axle from the present 19-tonnes, and the expanding of the Mildura-Melbourne link to a 25-tonne capacity is also needed.</p> <p>The federation also suggests building the Melbourne-Brisbane standard line, once the feasibility study is finished.</p> <p>"Unless these investments are made, the pressure placed on roads that often are not designed for the movement of heavy loads, will increase," the submission said.</p> <p>The NFF said farmers needed to have reasonable b-double truck access to the national transport network.</p> <p>"All designated arterial roads in Australia should be sealed by 2013 and at a one in 30-year standard," it said.</p> <p>The Government has allocated $12.7bn in AusLink funding in the next five years.</p> <p>All states except Queensland and Western Australia have signed up to the AusLink deals.</p> <br />