AusRAIL, Market Sectors

Sydney’s transport choking under demand, says Turnbull

<p>Congestion threatened the health of Sydney as the city’s transport infrastructure continued to struggle to cope with increased demand, the Sydney Transport Summit in Sydney heard this morning (Thursday, August 3).</p> <p>The Prime Minister’s parliamentary secretary, Malcolm Turnbull, told the conference that with Sydney making up about a quarter of Australia’s GDP, it was crucial that the infrastructure be able to cope.</p> <p>Mr Turnbull referred to widely-reported data from the Bureau of Transport and Regional Economics that projects Australia’s freight task to double by 2020.</p> <p>&#8220Urban road tonnages will more than double and this is the most troubling point, traffic in the major capitals like Sydney will grow by 45%,&#8221 Mr Turnbull said.</p> <p>But the New South Wales Government had put too much emphasis on building toll roads and not enough on rail and other infrastructure needs, Mr Turnbull said. </p> <p>&#8220And yet Sydney is choking,&#8221 he said.</p> <p>&#8220Nothing in my view more threatens the health of Sydney than congestion.&#8221</p> <p>New South Wales transport minister John Watkins said it was impossible to separate the needs of freight and passenger rail services as they shared the same infrastructure.</p> <p>The Federal Government needed to support the state’s infrastructure.</p> <p>&#8220We need to have a state government maintaining the commitment to public transport and have the further improvements come from the Federal Government,&#8221 Mr Watkins said.</p> <p>&#8220Freight movements moving through capital cities are obviously impacting on passenger movements.</p> <p> &#8220You can’t say that freight movements are critical to the national economy, which justifies federal involvement, and then say movement of people to and from work is not a national economic issue as well.&#8221</p> <p>&#8220Clearly, it is.&#8221</p> <p>But Mr Watkins said that he was not calling for the Federal Government to take over responsibility for the city’s transport.</p> <p>Mr Turnbull said there were often calls for federal assistance in infrastructure matters, but did not believe the Federal Government could do a better job than the state government on transport management in Sydney.</p> <p>&#8220We need a process that maintains or ideally restores clear lines of responsibility but hold all levels of government accountable for their actions and for the consequences,&#8221 he said.</p> <br />