THE mining industry yesterday welcomed a landmark agreement to transfer the NSW freight lines to commonwealth control - and a promise to overhaul a costly Hunter Valley rail bottleneck. Under the deal announced yesterday, the Hunter Valley line, which was designed more than a century ago, gets a $170 million upgrade to lift the capacity of the gateway to the lucrative coal fields.
MORE than 50 new Adelaide jobs are expected to follow yesterday's signing of an $872 million deal to increase Australian Rail Track Corporation's management of national rail lines. The agreement by the Federal and New South Wales governments and ARTC gives the company a 60-year lease of major NSW rail lines. Adelaide-based ARTC will also manage secondary NSW lines for the NSW Government.
Deputy Prime Minister John Anderson is to make a whistle-stop visit to the the mid north coast region of New South Wales next week after the Commonwealth makes a major pre-election announcement on road and rail infrastructure.
The elevation of Footscray Road, which will dramatically expand Port of Melbourne capacity and efficiency, is a key project in the Federal Government's $1.9 billion AusLink program to be launched today. It would allow full integration between the docks and the Dynon rail precinct, creating what Patrick Corp chief executive Chris Corrigan last month said would be a world-class transport hub.
North and South Korea agreed Saturday to open their first cross-border road and rail links by October, as South Korea announced that it would extend a 400,000-ton rice "loan" to North Korea.
Whilst the Federal Government's Auslink programme announced today will go a long way to upgrading this country's road and more importantly rail links, let's hope the work and management for Victoria's projects stays with the Federal Government's Australian Rail Track Corporation.
John Anderson promises a land transport revolution the equivalent of two Snowy Mountains schemes. But given the time Australian governments traditionally take to finish roads and railways, this new project will likely seem to take as long to build as the Snowys. Not the hydro-electric project, the mountains.
The Federal Member for the northern New South Wales seat of Richmond says he hopes a multi-billion dollar project to improve the nation's road and rail system will convince the NSW Government it should restore the Casino to Murwillumbah rail link.