Rudd pushes rail to boost productivity, take trucks off road


Commitment to rail will lift national productivity and lead to fewer trucks on the road, Rudd Government says

By Brad Gardner | May 13, 2010

A billion-dollar investment in upgrading rail infrastructure will boost productivity and lead to less trucks on the road, the Rudd Government says.

Following the allocation of $1 billion for rail projects in the Budget, Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Anthony Albanese says the Government is spending around $37 billion on rail, roads and ports.

"We are doing all of this to raise productivity, support jobs and ensure a national return," Albanese says.

The upgrades to rail lines in four states are designed to reduce delays and allow heavier trains to use the network.

"Our $1 billion investment in the Australian Rail Track Corporation will result in more freight being transported by rail, taking trucks off the road," Minister for Employment Participation Mark Arbib says.

He says the Government is committed to a strong rail network to cut road congestion and tackle climate change.

Money will be spent on the line between Maitland and the Queensland border to reduce transit times along the eastern seaboard by almost one hour. Three double-track passing loops will be built near the NSW towns of Goulburn, Moss Vale and Glenlee.

Lines between Whyalla and Broken Hill and between Parkes and Broken Hill in NSW and South Australia will be upgraded to accommodate heaver trains, and wooden sleepers will be replaced with concrete sleepers on the line between Parkes and Broken Hill in NSW.

Heavier trains will also be able to use the Albury to Melbourne line in Geelong next year after the route is re-railed to increase its capacity. Funds will also be used for four new passing loops between Gheringhap and Maroona in Victoria and two passing loops on the Koolyanobbing and Kalgoorlie line in Western Australia.

But Nationals Senator Barnaby Joyce says the Government should be investing more in inland rail if it wants to take trucks off the road.

"…that would actually take trucks, such as the 1600 trucks that go through Moree each day, off the road," he says.

"When it comes to infrastructure this crowd are about as exciting as a jam sandwich. If it does not fall off the back of a truck to be bolted together in a schoolyard, they just do not know how to do it."





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