NSW Budget - The State of Freight
17 June 2014
NSW Budget – The State of Freight
Roads and Freight Minister Duncan Gay today announced record funding to continue improvements to the productivity and efficiency of the NSW freight network as part of the 2014-15 State Budget.
“An efficient and effective freight network is the cornerstone of our state’s economic growth and productivity, generating almost $60 billion each year and employing half a million people,” Minister Gay said.
Minister Gay said the Budget placed a particular focus on improving road and rail freight infrastructure in rural and regional NSW.
“$283 million has been allocated in 2014-15 – including $99.4 million from NSW – to continue work on the Northern Sydney Freight Corridor to improve rail freight access through the Sydney-Newcastle rail corridor between Strathfield and Broadmeadow,” he said.
“This work will result in significant efficiency gains for rail freight flowing from northwest NSW to Port Botany including cotton, wool and containerised grains.”
Other key initiatives for freight infrastructure and services in the 2014-15 Budget include:
- $77 million (including $46 million from NSW) to support productivity and safety for road freight in country NSW, including extending the ‘Bridges for the Bush’ program to upgrade or replace Higher Mass Limit deficient bridges and building and upgrading truck rest areas;
- A further $44 million to continue the maintenance and upgrade of grain rail lines in country NSW (as part of an overall five-year $277 million program of works which started in 2012-13);
- $6 million to commence a program of rail infrastructure upgrades at key sites on the Country Regional Network to help improve loading times for trains moving grain to our ports. This work will include lengthening sidings to reduce or eliminate delays caused by having to shunt trains which won’t fit into shorter sidings;
- $5 million to continue upgrades to Gocup Road – which links the Hume and Snowy Mountains highways between Gundagai and Tumut – to cater for increased numbers of heavy vehicles carrying timber and other cargo to forestry mills in the Tumut Valley; and
- A further $3 million to the Port Botany Landside Improvement Strategy (PBLIS), a program to maximise the amount of trade through the port by making the landside supply chain more efficient.
“Freight matters to everyone in the state, and the Freight and Ports Strategy gives us a solid and evidence-based plan for meeting the demands posed by the projected doubling of the state’s freight task over the next 20 years,” Minister Gay said.
Minister Gay said since coming to office in March 2011, the NSW Liberals and Nationals had invested $139 million to maintain and upgrade the state’s grain lines to attract more bulk freight onto rail and help ease pressure on country roads,” he said.
To date, this works program and record funding has delivered:
- 226,000 old timber sleepers replaced with more modern long life steel sleepers;
- 972 kilometres of track resurfaced;
- 41 level crossings upgraded;
- 87,000 tonnes of ballast laid;
- 50 new low-maintenance bridges and culverts built; and
- 57 kilometres of new heavy rail track from Armatree to Coonamble.
“We also rolled out the Grain Harvest Management Scheme, giving trucks transporting grain a five per cent mass limit concession during the 2013-14 harvest, and helping farmers move grain from paddock to aggregation sites on the rail network more efficiently.
“We also created the NSW Cargo Movement Coordination Centre to build on the success of PBLIS, which will help NSW meet the target of doubling the proportion of container freight movement by rail through NSW ports by 2020.”
Minister Gay said road freight in rural and regional NSW would also see a massive boost in the immediate future from new reservations from the state’s dedicated infrastructure fund, Restart NSW, including:
- $200 million for a Regional Freight Pinch Point and Safety Program, including proposed improvement works on the Bells Line of Road, Golden Highway, Kings Highway and Gocup Road;
- $50 million for a Western NSW Freight Productivity Program, including fast-tracking sealing work on the Cobb and Silver City highways; and
- $37.5 million for Fixing Country Roads – a program to partner with councils and industry to identify and prioritise projects to eliminate missing links (or ‘last mile’ constraints) for high productivity trucks on local and regional roads.