May 11, 2010

Nation building rail investment

Nation building rail investment

The Hon Anthony Albanese MP

The Minister for Infrastructure, Transport

Regional Development and Local Government

Leader of the House

Member for Grayndler

May 11 2010

The Rudd Government will invest a further $1 billion in the government-owned Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC) to upgrade even more of its 10,000 kilometre network – work, supporting up to 1,500 jobs.

This $1 billion funding commitment will allow us to keep modernising the interstate rail freight network so we can expand Australia’s capacity and make the most of the economic opportunities ahead.

This major new investment builds on the Rudd Government’s record of historic investment in Australia’s critical economic infrastructure.

We are investing in the future productivity and prosperity of the Australian economy, with our total investment in the network now $3.4 billion over six years. Compared to the previous Government, this is twice as much in half the time.

The new projects are spread across four states and expected to create more than 1,500 jobs, mostly in regional Australia.

In a further boost for regional economies, the required material – the new concrete sleepers and metal rails – will be sourced from factories in Whyalla, Grafton, Geelong, Mittagong and Wagga Wagga.

The seven new projects will be:

  • Straightening the line between Maitland and the Queensland border at 58 locations (NSW), helping to reduce transit times along the eastern seaboard by almost one hour. The $170 million project will support 180 jobs and take approximately 14 months to complete.
  • Building three double track passing loops near the NSW towns of Goulburn, Moss Vale and Glenlee, providing trains with more overtaking opportunities and fewer delays. The $24 million project will support 35 jobs and take approximately 20 months to complete.
  • Re-railing the lines between Whyalla and Broken Hill and between Parkes and Broken Hill (NSW/South Australia), an upgrade which will allow both to be used by heavier trains. The $312 million project will support 275 jobs and take approximately 25 months to complete.
  • Replacing the existing old wooden sleepers on the line between Parkes and Broken Hill (NSW) with one million new concrete sleepers, greatly improving its capacity as well as reducing transit times and the need for temporary speed restrictions during summer. The $253 million project will support up to 370 jobs and take approximately 13 months to complete.
  • Re-railing the line between Albury to Melbourne to Geelong (Victoria), reducing transit times and allowing it to be used by heavier trains. The $110 million project will support up to 275 jobs and take approximately 13 months to complete.
  • Building four new passing loops between Gheringhap and Maroona (Victoria), providing trains with more overtaking opportunities and fewer delays. The $32 million project will help support up to 40 jobs and take approximately 16 months to complete.
  • Re-railing the line between Koolyanobbing and Kalgoorlie (WA) and build two new passing loops, reducing transit times and delays. The $95 million project will support 315 jobs and take approximately 11 months to complete. Investment for this project is subject to ARTC concluding arrangements for access to the interstate network in WA with WestNet Rail.

From the outset the Government’s focus has been on restoring the competitiveness and reliability of the interstate network, with our investment building 235 kilometres of new track and upgrading a further 3,771 kilometres of existing track.

In addition, the 2010-11 Budget allocates $70.7 million to complete the detailed planning on the Moorebank Intermodal Terminal Project in Sydney’s South West, with the staged redevelopment of the hub expected to start in 2013, subject to final approval.

The Department of Finance and Deregulation will drive this work in partnership with the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government and the site’s current owner, the Department of Defence.

Once operational, the new facility will create hundreds of jobs across Western Sydney and transform the movement of freight into and out of Port Botany as well as through the Sydney Basin.

This will also be a major victory for the Sydney’s motorists and residents, taking over one million trucks a year off the M5.

As well as rolling out the largest rail investment program in generations, the Rudd Labor Government is also implementing historic reforms to the way our nation regulates the owners, operators and users of this infrastructure.

The 2010-11 Budget provides the funding necessary to replace existing state-based regulations with one national rail safety regulator and one set of nation-wide rules. The Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) will also become the national investigator of rail accidents.

This measure supports the implementation of one of the priorities under the Council of Australian Government’s National Partnership Agreement to Deliver a Seamless National Economy.

As a result of the record investment we’re making and the sweeping reforms we’re implementing, this century could well be another ‘golden age’ for rail.

This investment in critical economic infrastructure is part of the Rudd Government’s plan to strengthen our economy and secure our future.

It builds on the Government’s major investments in infrastructure through the Economic Stimulus Plan, which created thousands of jobs and helped prevent Australia from falling into recession.