IN THIS SECTION:
How about a transport plan?
19 October 2007
BOTH sides of politics have been slammed by the National Farmers’ Federation (NFF) for their scattergun approach to transport spending in this election campaign, saying the parties are targeting electorates at the expense of Australia’s national transport needs.
“Both parties need to stop and take account of what is actually needed,” NFF Vice-President Charles Burke said. “Efficient transport means an end to the madness of piecemeal electorate-based road funding, which fails to overhaul Australia’s integrated transport infrastructure – across our road, rail, air and sea systems.
“Big dollar funding announcements cannot be sensibly evaluated without consideration of how all the pieces fit together to produce a better, more efficient transport system. To-date, we have seen no such focus.
“Not just farmers, but all Australian enterprise, suffer from the often deplorable state of our national and regional transport networks – they are antiquated, frequently rundown and grossly inefficient.
“Upgrading our vital rail networks, particularly for non-bulk and containerised freight, is essential if we are to be globally competitive.
“Our inland transport systems need a substantial investment in local infrastructure, specifically the adoption and creation of freight hubs, while our shipping port capacity must expand if Australia hopes to meet increasing global market needs.
“Our political aspirants in this campaign should be left in no doubt about the absolute need to harness our ‘whole-of-chain’ production infrastructure, collective resources and systems, and interconnect them into an efficient delivery network.
“Nothing less will do. So far in this campaign the spending spree on transport has been piecemeal. There is an essential need for harmonisation between the different transport modes. Too often debate rages about preferences for road or rail, without acknowledgement that both play a vital role.
“Both modes of freight transport are critical in getting farmers’ produce to the domestic and international marketplaces, and neither can be neglected.
“It is vital that both road and rail deliver nation-building supply chain efficiencies. Successful outcomes for regional transport development depend on coordination between road and rail, and the various competing commodities utilising the infrastructure.
“The NFF asserts that Australia must break away from the existing fragmented system, where road and rail infrastructure decisions are made autonomously from one other. They must be linked and an investment in transport must be strategically focussed to boost economic performance, efficiency and prosperity.
“The NFF calls on both side of politics to outline their comprehensive transport policy, so we can make an informed judgment as to their respective merits in meeting the future transport task.”
Media Enquiries: Brett Heffernan on (02) 6273 3855 or 0408 448 250
NFF NATIONAL CONGRESS
National Agriculture Day 2018