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ARA excited about a Melbourne Intermodal Terminal among other projects.
THE Australasian Railway Association has welcomed this week’s federal budget, saying new funding and investment in skills and training would benefit the rail sector.
Wilkie said the government’s $2 billion initial investment in the Melbourne Intermodal Terminal would help the freight sector.
“This is a key project that will support greater use of rail, take more trucks off the road and ensure we are ready to meet the nation’s growing freight task,” Wilkie said.
“An intermodal terminal in Melbourne with the capacity to manage double stack containers was an important part of the business case for Inland Rail.
“This will realise that ambition and maximise the significant benefits of the Inland Rail project.”
Additional funding for key rail projects such as WA’s METRONET, Queensland’s Gold Coast Light Rail, the Canberra Light Rail and SA’s Gawler Rail Line Electrification project were welcome investments in the passenger rail network.
“While the past year has been a challenging one, people are returning to rail and the network needs to be ready to meet future demand,” Wilkie said.
“For many years, rail has suffered from historic underinvestment when compared to other modes and this trend must be reversed to support the sustainable development of our cities.
“It is important that governments keep supporting projects like these to avoid traffic gridlock and help reduce emissions as populations rise.”
Additional funding for new apprenticeships and traineeships would be welcomed by the rail industry, Wilkie said.
“The rail industry is already facing skills shortages and is actively working to improve pathways into the industry to support future demand,” she said.
“We welcome any initiative that encourages more people to consider a career in rail and supports greater diversity in the industry.”
While the ‘patent box’ initiative to drive new innovation was to be commended, Wilkie encouraged the government to consider broadening its focus.
“The rail industry lags its international counterparts when it comes to technology and innovation, in part due to a lack of national research investment and focus,” she said.
“Initiatives like the ‘patent box’ could drive greater investment in rail innovation and maximise the significant investment in rail infrastructure to come over the next 15 years.”
Wilkie said it was pleasing to see employment rates improve.
“The rail industry has maintained operations throughout the pandemic to keep people in jobs and make sure essential services were there when we needed them,” she said.
“The collective effort of the wider community has allowed Australia to weather the challenges we are currently faced with.”
Key rail announcements in the 2021-22 Federal Budget included:
Intermodal facilities and freight rail
Planning and business cases
This article first appeared on railexpress.com.au
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