AusRAIL, Market Sectors

Small players to miss out on AusLink dollars: Meyrick

<p>A lack of lobbying muscle and continued gaps in federal and state government transport infrastructure planning mechanisms may see critical assets such as regional ports miss out on vital AusLink spending allocations, the Regional Ports in Focus conference heard.</p> <p>Political lobbying and partial group lobbying was likely to win the day &#8211 and the dollars &#8211 Meyrick and Associates director Louise Meyrick said.</p> <p>&#8220As relatively small players in the freight transport arena &#8211 small players in terms of their representational power &#8211 some regional ports may miss out on development of adequate road and rail networks,&#8221 she said.</p> <p>&#8220Some parts of the AusLink investment vehicle are allocated through a process of assessing competing applications by local governments, or coalitions between local governments, industry bodies, and others who have a specific interest in a piece of local infrastructure.</p> <p>&#8220Hopefully the reasonably developed national guidelines for transport system management will form the basis upon which those applications will be assessed from here on in.&#8221</p> <p>Further, the numbers of local governments becoming &#8220very, very excited about freight&#8221 are on the rise. </p> <p>&#8220They’re particularly excited about forming coalitions with ports to set up, hopefully, the `world’s best intermodal terminal’,&#8221 Ms Meyrick said.</p> <p>&#8220This trend is great, we might say &#8211 it reflects the growing awareness of freight.</p> <p>&#8220But it is also a very dangerous game, and one that is fulfilling &#8211 particularly in New South Wales &#8211 a State Government planning gap.</p> <p>&#8220As long as there is a gap in federal and state government planning about our transport system as a whole, political lobbying and partial group lobbying is likely to win the day, and that, I believe, will result in greatly wasted investment.&#8221</p> <br />