Monday 20th May, 2019

FORG calls for seat at Transport Infrastructure Council table

Pacific National container. Photo: Cameron Boggs
Photo: Cameron Boggs

Australia’s key rail freight businesses are demanding an audience at the next meeting of Australia’s transport infrastructure leaders, over the steps needed to get more freight off roads, and onto rail.

Freight on Rail Group (FORG) of Australia chair and Pacific National boss Dean Dalla Valle this week urged the Transport Infrastructure Council to lend the freight sector its collective ear at its next meeting, scheduled for June 28.

Dalla Valle told Rail Express an audience for the rail freight sector at the TIC was “long overdue”.

“FORG represents the nation’s largest rail freight operators and infrastructure managers, employing more than 20,000 people across Australia and generating $11 billion each year in revenue for the nation,” Dalla Valle said.

“In terms of large-scale investment in rail freight and what it takes to successfully run above and below rail operations in Australia’s vast transport supply chain; if you are not talking to us, you are not in the know.

“Australians from every walk of life want safer roads, less traffic congestion during their daily commute and lower vehicle emissions – hauling bulk goods and commodities by rail ticks all these boxes.”

The Transport Infrastructure Council, which last met in November 2018, includes transport infrastructure ministers from each of Australia’s state, territory and federal governments, along with a representative from the local government level.

Dalla Valle made a direct request to address the Council’s next meeting on behalf of FORG of Australia, in a letter dated March 26.

In the letter to Dr Steven Kennedy, Secretary of the Department of Infrastructure, Regional Development and Cities, Dalla Valle said FORG had grown “increasingly concerned” about the negative impacts to rail freight operations caused by a number of outdated and inconsistent state and federal policies.

“Unnecessary and overly burdensome regulations om rail freight diminish and erode benefits derived from new and improved infrastructure,” Dalla Valle wrote. “They also have the effect of denting investment confidence in our sector.”

FORG of Australia includes Pacific National, Genesee & Wyoming, Aurizon, Qube, SCT Logistics, Arc Infrastructure and the Australian Rail Track Corporation.

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