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Future Freight Networks : Yearbook 2014
38 FORUM 2014 Gay said that the Government has laid strong foundations, and has a long- term master plan and freight and port strategy that will be guided by more robust freight data. He stressed the need to work closely with industry to develop appropriate strategies to deal with issues, including with the New South Wales Freight Advisory Council. Gay said that freight is no longer a dirty word. In New South Wales, it is a $58-billion-a-year industry, employing 500,000 people. Freight volumes are expected to double in the next 20 years. Under the present New South Wales Government, $60 billion has been committed to the industry over the next four years, which is a historic level of funding. Gay said that the Government is determined to work with the private sector to deliver. Gay said that we have seen ‘a bit of common sense’ from Tony Abbott and Warren Truss in restoring the 80:20 New South Wales–Federal funding split. It means an extra $4.5 billion from the Commonwealth. ‘I am a fan of getting as much freight on rail as possible,’ he said, revealing that his key performance indicator is to double the portion of rail freight through New South Wales ports by 2020. Gay admitted, however, that his Government was ‘not within a bull’s roar’ of achieving the KPI on increasing rail freight out of Port Botany, but he said that the Government was acting, and that the removal of the rail crossing near Sydney Airport would help. It would cost $180 million to duplicate the last of the line – which the New South Wales Government did not have. It would come down to the Federal Government. One of the reasons the rail portion has been slipping is the improvement of trucks, Gay said; but many people do not recognise that 90 per cent of wheat in New South Wales is hauled by rail. Gay said the New South Wales Government supports the Moorebank intermodal development, and hopes to cooperate with the private sector to achieve it. It will take thousands of truck movements from Sydney roadways. New and improved financing models are needed, he added. The Minister said he supported ‘recycling’ government assets, and that the $5 billion obtained from the leasing of Port Botany to the private sector is, and will be, recycled to other infrastructure. He hoped the long-term leasing of the Port of Newcastle to the private sector would happen soon, and that the proceeds would go to infrastructure in the Newcastle CBD. Two of the most critical road projects in New South Wales are the WestConnex and the missing link between the M1 and M2 motorways – the NorthConnex. WestConnex is a 33-kilometre, $11.5 billion motorway that will connect Western Sydney with the airport – and the world. He said, however, that making the WestConnex a direct link to Port Botany would cost $3 billion, and would make the project unviable. It could not be justified, because cars had no need to go to the port. But the Government has committed $300 million for connecting roads. Gay said the nine-kilometre NorthConnex will allow trucks to bypass Sydney, and will improve the lives of tens of thousands of people living near Pennant Hills Road. With heavy-vehicle reforms, the Minister said he was more than happy to work closely with industry to develop sensible and safe access rules. He said the Government has pushed the envelope for better vehicle combinations, and it has broken the east-of-the-Newell rule that meant that no B-doubles or road trains were allowed east of the Newell Highway. On heavy-vehicle safety, Gay said that once rules were agreed upon, the Government expected them to be followed. The Government expects trucks to be correctly loaded, brakes to be right, speed limits to be obeyed, and work diaries not to be falsified. If people stick to the rules, there will nothing to worry about. If not, the Government will have to do something about it. That will include Chain of Responsibility sanctions. Minister Gay thanked ALC for its continued pursuit of heavy-vehicle safety in New South Wales. The Hon Warren Truss MP