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Future Freight Networks : Yearbook 2013
54 FORUM 2013 rail. More needs to be done to get freight onto rail along the east coast. Mr Fullerton added that the ARTC had made signi cant investments in getting more freight onto rail and out to Port Botany; however, rail carried only 14 per cent of volume. The rest, he said, is carried by road, which adds to congestion. It is now necessary for people to reconsider how they move their freight. Discussion turned to the Adelaide to Darwin rail link, which Fullerton argued represented a bargain for the government. That line now carries 90 per cent of freight between the two cities, and supports a number of mines that would not have started without the line's existence. Maurice James, Managing Director at Qube Logistics, argued that there was a big gap between the plans for infrastructure and construction, and that state governments did not have the money. On the issue of proactively communicating the economic importance of the freight industry, he said the fragmented nature of the industry meant it was hard to get one well-resourced voice. Paul Larsen, CEO of Brook eld Rail, argued that we need to tap into China for investment funds. With the government placing the highest priority on investing in hospitals and schools, rather than ports, we need to focus more on private investment. Secretary of the Department of Infrastructure and Transport, Mike Mrdak, argued the need to reinvigorate reform to lift productivity. Mrdak said Australia has been living off the 1980s reforms and the 1990s Hilmer privatisations for too long. He warned that if we don't reinvigorate the reform agenda, we cannot maintain our increasing standard of living. He said that both government and industry need to talk more about how reform helps living standards. The electorate is angry about demanding proper health care and better schools -- the same sense of public anger needs to apply to productivity. Mrdak conceded that Australia lagged in infrastructure compared to competing countries, and that we could do better in selecting and planning infrastructure projects, especially in the ve major cities. But, he quickly added, it's not all grim. We have had one of the largest lifts in infrastructure spending in a long time over the past ve or six years, but in the next decade it will be harder. We need to focus on reducing transaction costs, improving selection, and concentrating micro reform and planning. Mike Mrdak, Department of Infrastructure and Transport; Penny Winn, Woolworths Ltd; Lisa Brock, Qantas Freight; Michael Carter, Aurizon; Paul Larsen, Brookfield Rail. continued from page 52 continued on page 56