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Future Freight Networks : Yearbook 2014
24 ALC POLICY At the end of July in the lead-up to the September election, ALC published ‘Time to Deliver – ALC Election Priorities 2013’. It was circulated to all MPs and Senators. The four key priorities were: an inland rail route; a second Sydney Airport at Badgery’s Creek; delivery on investment in critical logistics infrastructure; and reforms to increase productivity, reduce red tape and improve safety. As it happened, in August, the Coalition matched the Labor Government’s promise to spend $300 million to plan a future Melbourne to Brisbane railway line. The likelihood of the railway – to cost about $10 billion – going ahead has increased significantly. ALC pointed out the huge benefits of the line in evening the freight load, reducing rail traffic on major passenger routes, and boosting regional Australia in both receiving freight and getting its produce to market. ALC also highlighted the need to preserve and protect the preferred alignment that would help contain the project’s costs. On the proposed second Sydney airport, commitments were less firm. Nonetheless, since the election, Prime Minister Tony Abbott has announced the site for a second Sydney Airport in Badgery’s Creek, Sydney West. Before the election: Time to Deliver Policies The federal election in 2013 enabled ALC to crystallise its thinking on the task ahead for Australia in infrastructure provision, and on the creation of the right regulatory environment and government policy settings to provide the best possible supply chain. ALC has often said, ‘Freight does not vote.’ Often, infrastructure and freight issues get buried by the hot or ‘sexy’ issues of the moment. The media unfortunately pays more attention to short-term issues and events that tug at the heartstrings than to the truly significant policy matters that underpin the running of the economy. Fortunately, infrastructure received more attention before the 2013 election than it had for perhaps any election before it. Then Opposition Leader Tony Abbott said that he wanted to be known as the ‘infrastructure prime minister’. ALC did its part to keep the issues before the public and media spotlight, and in front of politicians’ eyes – both before and after the election. Michael Kilgariff, Managing Director, ALC The Hon Tony Abbott MP, Prime Minister