Workers in Australia’s freight industry are in a race against time to get a new system of rail freight to the country’s ports, and are finding out the challenges ahead.
The Federal Government is expected to announce a $50 million plan to upgrade freight services in Victoria and the ACT, but it will not be delivered until 2021.
Key points:The $50m plan will focus on new freight capacity, infrastructure and the economy at largeWhile the rail freight infrastructure project is not yet under construction, there are signs that a freight hub at Hobart has been the focus of the Federal GovernmentThe plan will be unveiled next month at the State of the Nation Address, which is set to be attended by Prime Minister Scott Morrison.
In the past few months, more than $400 million worth of rail and port projects have been delayed or cancelled in Victoria, New South Wales, South Australia and the Northern Territory, and thousands of jobs have been lost in those states.
“A lot of the new rail infrastructure is a long way from being finished, and we’re trying to get that going,” Victoria’s minister for transport and regional development, Ian Chubb, told reporters in Hobart on Tuesday.
“So we have to do a lot of work to get there.”
The $500 million plan announced by the Government in March has a similar focus to the $50 m plan, with a focus on improving the freight infrastructure at regional ports and the construction of a freight terminal in Victoria.
It will focus a lot on the port facilities and the freight network, he said.
“We’ve got to get these facilities operational, we’ve got some of the infrastructure there, we’re going to get it up and running.”
Construction will be part of the plan, Mr Chubb said.
“There will be some freight terminals and some freight hubs in the port, that’s going to be the focus, we’ll have some of that infrastructure built.”
In 2017, the Andrews Government announced $50 billion for rail freight and the $75 m plan announced in February has a focus to build freight terminals, but has not been announced.
The Andrews Government has said it will announce a new rail freight hub in Victoria in the next few months.
“This is not just about what we do now, it’s about what happens over the next decade and beyond,” Mr Chubbs said.
The Government has not yet announced a target date for when the new freight hub will be ready.
“The Federal Parliament has been clear on that and the Government has been very clear that the first phase of this will be completed by 2021,” he said, adding that it will be “a significant investment”.
The Federal government says it wants to attract more freight freight to Victoria, but Mr Chubby said that was a long-term plan.
“It’s not just to do the first thing now.
It’s a long term plan and that’s what’s happening.”
Topics:economy,industry,industries,jobs,work,business-economics-and-finance,commerce-and -commerce-organisations,jobs-and,industral-relations,government-and/or-politics,australiaFirst posted September 14, 2019 09:20:19Contact Emily O’BrienMore stories from New South Welsh