22 February 2011
The Urban Taskforce has welcomed the Federal Governments proposal for a national land freight strategy, saying it cant come quickly enough. The Federal Government released the National Land Freight Strategy Discussion Paper today.
The Urban Taskforces chief executive, Aaron Gadiel, said the publication of a national strategy showing likely major freight routes and precincts would focus the minds of politicians and public servants across the nation.
This should promote better planning and more public investment, Mr Gadiel said.
The movement of freight is part of the lifeblood of our cities.
The efficient passage of freight is crucial for both businesses who dispatch and receive it – and households who require consumer goods and jobs.
Much of the debate on urban transport focuses on public transport alone, without also considering the new roads that are essential to keep freight freely moving.
As most businesses cannot be located at the end of a rail line, roads play a key role in any freight movement system.
A freight strategy will provide an opportunity to highlight the strong need for motorway investment within our major cities.
Mr Gadiel said that the road system necessarily catered to both freight and personal transport.
Promoting personal and freight mobility are not conflicting goals, Mr Gadiel said.
A citys future becomes clouded if its citizens lose their ability to be mobile.
Reduced freedom of movement means that jobseekers are less likely to seek out better, more suitable, employment.
Similarly, congestion limits employers choice of workers and makes it harder for businesses to attract as many customers as they otherwise would.
Mr Gadiel said that planners should not conclude that new infrastructure would be fully utilised by personal transport.
Dedicated freight road tunnels have not proven to be doable, because making them available to personal transport improves their viability, rather than detracting from it.
Personal transport and freight transport peak at different times of the day, and freight movement allows transport infrastructure to be used more efficiently over a 24 hour period.
Mr Gadiel welcomed the urban motorway projects identified as goals in todays discussion paper:
¢ Melbourne – Peninsula Link, Westlink, north east Melbourne link, Outer Melbourne Ring Road-E6;
¢ Sydney – M5 East, F3-M2, M9 – far-western orbital motorway, M4 if warranted;
¢ Brisbane (Gateway motorways, Northern link);
¢ Adelaide (Northern Connector);
¢ Perth (Gateway WA plus Roe and Leach highway access to ports).
Mr Gadiel said the if warranted qualification that Infrastructure Australia had attached to Sydneys M4 extension was a concern.
He said that an enormous amount of behind the scenes work had taken place for an M4 extension linking:
¢ the M4 at Concord to the City West link at Rozelle;
¢ Victoria Road at the Iron Cove Bridge to Rozelle; and
¢ the other two new tunnels (from Rozelle) to the Airport/Port Botany.
The importance of this motorway development for Sydney should be evident to Infrastructure Australia, Mr Gadiel said.
Its worrying that, in the context of the 50 year horizon contemplated by the strategy, Infrastructure Australia is having trouble seeing the need for a new motorway connection to Port Botany and the Airport.
The Urban Taskforce is a property development industry group, representing Australias most prominent property developers and equity financiers.