NSW voters will go to the polls just 24 hours from now, and all the major transport promises have now been put on the table.
A list compiled by the Australasian Railway Association (ARA) this week comprises promises made by the NSW Liberals, NSW Labor and The Greens over the past month.
It reveals that while few promises have been made by any party on freight rail and rolling stock, there are true battle grounds established on passenger rail, and services and administration.
“The rail industry has released its key election platforms for rail and now we hope to work with the government elect in ensuring our concerns are registered, priorities pursued and action is taken,” ARA chief Bryan Nye said.
The full list, available here (PDF link), shows the only promise made to freight rail is the Baird Government’s $1 million commitment towards upgrading the Dubbo rail triangle – a drop in the bucket compared to other commitments.
The platforms of light and heavy passenger rail, however, give voters more to sink their teeth into.
“I applaud the strong commitment from all parties, in particular the Baird Government, regarding passenger rail funding for projects such as the second Sydney Harbour crossing and the Western Sydney light rail project, both of which were outlined as priorities in our key platforms document,” Nye said.
“I am, however, disappointed to not see a greater commitment across the board for rail freight, in particular infrastructure investment for long and short haul rail in the state’s mining and agriculture industries, through key policies such as duplicating the Port Botany rail line upgrading existing regional freight lines and connections to the planned Inland Rail network.”
Nye did credit the incumbent Baird Government for its 2013 Freight and Ports Strategy, and said the rail industry “would like to see more of the recommendations implemented,” with one example being the continued separation of passenger and rail.
“With new projects come new trains and new technologies, therefore we would also hope to see benefit brought to the local manufacturing industry with a strong focus on stimulating the local economy and in turn creating jobs and a stronger future for rail manufacturing in Australia,” Nye added.