The Australasian Railway Association (ARA) has been critical of the Federal Opposition for the omission of ways to reduces heavy vehicles on Australia’s roads in its road safety plans.
Brian Nye, the ARA CEO, said that the association is not able to support the pledge of the Opposition to reduce traffic congestion and improve road safety if they do not commit to taking some of the freight off the roads and onto the rail network.
He said that the pledge by the Opposition overlooks the considerable trauma that is experienced on the roads in the nation by not including any measures to increase the use of rail for freight haulage.
Mr Nys said that about 4% of registered vehicles are heavy vehicles but they are involved in over 17% of all the fatalities on the country’s roads. The ARA is supporting the improvement of road safety through slowing the growth of the numbers of heavy trucks on roads.
The ARA said that by moving more freight onto the rail system this can be achieved. Investment into the networks that already exist, reducing freight bottlenecks and sourcing locations for additional facilities would make this plan possible.
They have also been critical of the lack of commitment by the Opposition to funding for public transport.
Mr Nye said that public transport should be a priority and not an optional extra.
The major road projects that the Opposition has announced that they would commence within 12 months of taking power include:
- $1.5 billion to commence the construction of the East West link in Melbourne
- $1 billion towards the Brisbane gateway project
- $1.5 billion to make sure that the WestConnex project goes ahead in Sydney
- $5.6 billion to finish the duplication of the Pacific Highway that runs between Newcastle and the border with Queensland
- $400 million towards the duplication of Tasmania’s Midland Highway