AusRAIL, Freight Rail, Passenger Rail

AusRAIL: Bumper year for ARA

Outgoing Australasian Railway Association CEO Danny Broad opened AusRAIL Plus 2019 on Tuesday, his last year at the helm of the ARA before he hands over the reins to incoming CEO Caroline Wilkie.

Broad recapped what he called “an exciting and demanding year in all sector of rail” thanks to the “strong transport infrastructure policies” of federal and state NSW governments.

The ARA, says Broad, has spent the last twelve months advocating to governments about one of the biggest issues facing the industry.

“We have focussed on advocating to governments on how best to address the skills shortage, resulting in the development in the National Rail Action Plan, by the National Transport Commission.”

The ARA has also been calling on state, territory and federal governments to commit to a unified pipeline for major rail projects, to allow the private sector to better prepare itself with adequate skills and equipment to ensure contracts are executed as efficiently as possible.

The organisation recommended the federal government resource the Australia & New Zealand Infrastructure Pipeline in its 2019-20 Budget Submission as part of this.

They have also lodged seventeen submissions to parliamentary and government inquiries on behalf of the sector over the last year.

“As far as possible, domestic rail freight markets should operate on an even footing with other modal choices. This requires an environment with equitable regulatory settings to enable competitive neutrality between competing modes of transport,” says the ARA’s annual report 2019. This was the focuss of a number of its submissions to government in 2019.

The ARA called for an extension of the Inland Rail line, the largest freight rail project in Australia.

“The current project has the Inland Rail line ceasing at Acacia Ridge. The ARA calls for a commensurate project to ensure a freight rail line continues all the way to the Port of Brisbane. Research undertaken by Deloitte shows that building a dedicated freight rail connection to the Port of Brisbane could achieve a 30% rail modal share, which would remove 2.4 million truck movements from the local road network,” according to the annual report.

“We have been progressing the smart rail and technology agendas, working with industry and governments on improving accessibility, advocating for rail and supporting rail careers through programs such as the women in rail pilot mentoring program and the formation of the young leaders advisory board, a potential attraction and retention campaign and the future leaders program to name just a few,” Broad said.

“I’m very proud of where the ARA is now, and feel it is the right time to pass on the reigns to our new CEO,” Broad concluded.