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Future Freight Networks : Yearbook 2012
Michael Deegan, Infrastructure Coordinator of Infrastructure Australia; Maurice James, Managing Director of Qube Logistics; Les Wielinga, Director General Transport for New South Wales; Lyn O'Connell, Deputy Secretary, Australian Government Department of Infrastructure and Transport. 38 FORUM 2012 'The sooner this damn thing gets done, the better,' Mr Wielinga said. Identifying potential sites for intermodal terminals is an ongoing concern, Infrastructure Australia's Michael Deegan also said. Proposals have included Moorebank as well as Donnybrook and Abbot Point. The federal government has set aside $70 million to complete detailed planning for Moorebank. Intermodal terminals were heavily featured in the presentation from Qube Managing Director Maurice James. His company is proposing to build and operate an intermodal terminal and port-linked industrial facility on an 83-hectare site at Moorebank. In March, Qube announced it would control the joint venture, proposing to develop the $1 billion freight terminal after striking a deal with Stockland to acquire its 55 per cent stake. Mr James said owning a majority stake in the Sydney Intermodal Terminal Alliance (SIMTA) would make it easier for the group to make funding and development decisions. Qube's development plans for Moorebank will include revitalising a disused rail line that accesses the 83-hectare site. 'We want to push ahead with it to help facilitate the movement of cargo from Port Botany by rail instead of road, and that fits very well with the New South Wales Government's objective to have a modal shift from road to rail.' 'We're proposing a fully funded private sector intermodal terminal with an open access regime,' Mr James said, adding it will handle one million TEUs with an initial $200 million capex. 'We want to build a state-of-the-art intermodal terminal. We can handle 40 per cent of incoming volume. 'The three-stage project would wrap up in 2020,' Mr James said. 'This is critical infrastructure for New South Wales,' Mr James said, acknowledging that moving Department of Defence facilities will not be cost-free but could yield it rent savings. 'What we are asking the Commonwealth, and in particular Defence, for, is a staged relocation out of Moorebank.' 'This is a win-win situation. It's not us versus them,' Mr James said. Developing Moorebank would play a key part in transferring more freight onto rail, said Lyn O'Connell, Deputy Secretary, Australian Government Depart- ment of Infrastructure and Transport. 'That modal shift is strategically important,' Ms O'Connell said, saying rail plays a bigger role in east-west freight movement than it does along Australia's east coast. Ms O'Connell stressed that road pricing for heavy vehicles could help direct investment to where the money is needed most. Productivity in heavy vehicles has risen sixfold since 1970. Ensuring productivity improves hinges on getting pricing right. During the question and answer period, Mr Wielinga stressed that intermodal terminals like Moorebank are key, because roughly 95 per cent of containers coming into Port Botany are destined for locations no further than 45 kilometres from Sydney. 'You can't take the containers a long way away and build infrastructure to bring them back in again. It just doesn't make sense,' Mr Wielinga said. 'This is about the economic future of the state.' Moorebank was a lesson for other capital cities to manage growth and recognise the growing importance of ports as the country becomes more reliant on imports. 'The industry debate 10 to 15 years ago was about the Waterfront reforms,' said Mr James from Qube. 'The next 10 to 15 years it's going to be about getting freight out of the ports and into intermodal terminals.'