Smarter and targeted infrastructure investment

Action area 1

Problem

Australia’s freight task is growing and changing. The volume of freight carried is expected to grow by over 35 per cent between 2018 and 2040, an increase of 270 billion tonnes (bringing the total volume moved to just over 1000 billion tonnes).

The growing demand for freight is straining existing infrastructure and affecting service levels along the supply chain. Australia’s widely dispersed population and climatic vulnerabilities exacerbate this challenge.

To accommodate expected growth of the freight task, Australia will need to build capacity through both infrastructure investment as well as the efficient use of existing assets across all modes

Appropriate and improved access to trade gateways, improved access to the first and last mile of the freight task, enhanced digital infrastructure availability, and improved freight infrastructure provision is needed to ensure our infrastructure investments drive the efficiency and productivity gains we need to meet our growing freight task now and into the future.

Outcomes we want to achieve

  • Develop new, well planned and located major freight gateways and hubs
  • Improve landside access to major freight gateways
  • Improve regional freight links
  • Develop Northern Australia’s freight infrastructure
  • Enable freight’s digital future
  • Advance heavy vehicle road reform to facilitate efficient investment in infrastructure.

These outcomes will be achieved through four priority actions.

Actions

1.1: Ensure that domestic and international supply chains are serviced by resilient and efficient key freight corridors, precincts and assets

1.2: Provide regional and remote Australia with infrastructure capable of connecting regions and communities to major gateways, through land links, regional airports or coastal shipping

1.3: Identify and support digital infrastructure and communication services necessary for improved and innovative supply chains

1.4: Advance heavy vehicle road reform to facilitate efficient investment in infrastructure

Action 1.1

Ensure that domestic and international supply chains are serviced by resilient and efficient key freight corridors, precincts and assets

Why we need action

To meet our growing freight task, Australia needs to build capacity along key freight corridors, ensuring assets are used effectively and are resilient in the face of change.

Where we want to be by 2024

To develop new major freight gateways and hubs and improve landside access to existing gateways, we aim to:

  • Progress towards a more strategic and networked approach to freight-related investment
  • Develop a comprehensive infrastructure investment framework for freight that includes consideration of non-build options such as planning and adoption of new technologies
  • Plan and construct freight infrastructure to meet capacity requirements
  • Put in place strategies to make freight infrastructure and supply chains more resilient to disruption
  • Continue public and private investment in freight related infrastructure.
Between now and 2024 we will Example actions we are taking or will take
a) Develop a national framework for freight-related infrastructure investment, including consideration of non-build solutions
  • Major Project Business Case Fund (Cth)
  • State Infrastructure Strategies (all state and territory governments)
  • Smart motorways (NSW; Qld)
b) Develop new major freight gateways and hubs
  • Western Sydney Airport and Western Sydney Infrastructure
  • Plan, including investment in the M12 motorway (Cth; NSW)
  • Toowoomba Wellcamp and Cairns Airports Regional Export
  • Distribution Centre Pilots (Qld)
  • Yamala Hub (Qld)
  • Moorebank Intermodal Terminal (Cth; NSW)
  • Inland Rail Terminal (Vic)
  • Kenwick Intermodal Terminal (WA)
  • Katherine Agribusiness and Logistics Hub (NT)
c) Improve landside access to major freight gateways
  • North-South Corridor (Cth; SA)
  • North East Link (Vic)
  • West Gate Tunnel Project (Vic)
  • Port Botany Rail Line Duplication (Cth)
  • Melbourne Port Rail Shuttle (Cth; Vic)
  • Road upgrades around Sydney and Hobart Airports (Cth; NSW; Tas)
  • NorthLink WA (Cth; WA)
  • Replacement of the Fremantle Traffic Bridge (road and rail bridge; separation of passenger and freight rail traffic) (WA)
  • Burnie to Hobart Freight Corridor Strategy (Cth; Tas)
  • Bruce Highway, Warrego Highway, Gateway Motorway and Pacific Motorway upgrades (Cth; Qld)
d) Assess and improve the resiliency of key freight assets and supply chains
  • Critical infrastructure strategies (all jurisdictions)
  • National Disaster Risk Reduction Framework – Freight Resilience Pilot Project (Cth)

Action 1.2

Provide regional and remote Australia with infrastructure capable of connecting regions and communities to major gateways, through land links, regional airports or coastal shipping

Why we need action

Our supply chains rely on regional and remote transport infrastructure to facilitate the majority of movements of our key exports to international markets and to deliver essential goods and services to isolated communities.

Long distances between population centres, climatic disruptions, high maintenance and repair costs, and relatively low levels of infrastructure create challenges in securing connectivity and reliability of product distribution through supply chains.

Where we want to be by 2024

To improve regional and remote freight links, we aim for:

  • Better linkages from major regional and remote producer areas to key freight corridors and trade gateways (ports and airports)
  • Improved all weather access to export gateways, including in Northern Australia
  • All levels of government to improve and upgrade infrastructure in regional and remote areas to lift regional freight productivity, access and safety across all modes and delivery of essential goods and services to isolated communities.
Between now and 2024 we will Example actions we are taking or will take
a) Develop regionally based investment frameworks for key freight corridors
  • Lower Hunter Freight Corridor (NSW)
  • Regional Road Freight Corridor Fund (NSW)
  • Midland Highway 10 Year Action Plan (Cth; Tas)
  • Bruce Highway Action Plan (Qld)
  • Warrego Highway Upgrade Program (Qld)
  • Major route plans on major highways (WA)
  • Wheatbelt strategic secondary road freight network (WA)
  • Revitalising Agricultural Region Freight Strategy (WA)
b) Provide infrastructure to connect regions and remote areas to markets
  • Inland Rail (Cth)
  • Roads of Strategic Importance (Cth)
  • Bruce Highway Upgrade (Cth; Qld)
  • Northern Australia Roads and Beef Roads Programs (Cth; Qld; WA; NT)
  • Murray Basin Rail Project (Vic)
  • Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility (Cth)
  • Regional Aviation Access Program (Cth)
  • State Aviation Strategy (WA)
  • Expansion program for Darwin/Tennant Creek/Alice Springs Airports (NT)
  • Development of Ship Lift at East Arm (NT)
c) Target infrastructure investment programs to improve regional and remote freight access and safety
  • Bridges Renewal Program (Cth)
  • Heavy Vehicle Safety and Productivity Program (Cth)
  • Transport Infrastructure Development Scheme (Qld)
  • Bruce Highway Safety Package (Qld)
  • Heavy Vehicle Safety Action Plan (Qld)
d) Fund local governments to maintain and upgrade freight assets that support community sustainability
  • Fund regional councils to improve road freight access (NSW)
  • Transport Infrastructure Development Scheme (Qld)

Action 1.3

Identify and support digital infrastructure and communication services necessary for improved and innovative supply chains.

Why we need action

Adopting new and innovative technologies, including connected and automated vehicles, is vital to improving supply chain productivity, efficiency and safety. For their effective introduction, emerging technologies will rely on digital infrastructure, including data, positioning and telecommunications services.

Work to investigate our current and future needs will help governments and industry understand the digital infrastructure we need to facilitate the arrival of emerging freight technologies.

Linkages: Action 1.3 (provision of digital infrastructure) and Action 2.1 (standards development and adoption) together enable the trialing of new technologies under Action 2.3.

Where we want to be by 2024

To enable freight’s digital future, we aim for:

  • New infrastructure to be future-proofed
  • Improved mobile coverage along major freight corridors through initiatives such as the Mobile Black Spot Program
  • Digital infrastructure deployed to support innovative operations and technology improvements.
Between now and 2024 we will Example actions we are taking or will take
a) Investigate digital infrastructure needs to support the deployment of innovative freight technologies
  • Upgrade navigation and positioning infrastructure, including the Satellite-Based Augmentation System (Cth)
  • Identify barriers to Internet of Things and 5G uptake (Cth) Explore opportunities to apply new technology to manage transport networks (all state and territory governments)
b) Improve telecommunications access to support freight operations
  • Continue Mobile Black Spot Program (Cth)
  • Complete NBN rollout (Cth)
  • Access to spectrum (Cth)
  • Remote Telecommunications Co-investment Program (NT)
c) Ensure digital security in the freight system, including in the collection of data from innovative freight technologies
  • Telecommunications Security Sector Reform (Cth)
  • Reforms to enable data collection from Cooperative Intelligent Transport Systems (Cth - NTC)

Action 1.4

Advance heavy vehicle road reform to facilitate efficient investment in infrastructure

Why we need action

More closely linking infrastructure provision to its use through pricing and investment reforms will promote the use of the most appropriate mode for a given freight task.

Creating strong competition within markets and between transport modes will improve efficiency and productivity.

Where we want to be by 2024

In advancing heavy vehicle road reform, we are aiming for:

  • Stronger links between heavy vehicle road user charges and investments into road infrastructure services
  • Increased transparency to road users regarding levels of service and investments
  • Increased funding certainty for road managers, helping to deliver optimal road maintenance.
Between now and 2024 we will Example actions we are taking or will take
a) Further develop Heavy Vehicle Road Reform
  • Prepare detailed advice on options to progress Heavy Vehicle Road Reform, including advice on introducing independent price regulation and developing models to estimate costs based on future road network needs (all jurisdictions)
  • Continue to improve road expenditure and investment plans and heavy vehicle asset registers, already being published as part of Heavy Vehicle Road Reform (all jurisdictions)
  • Develop nationally consistent service level standards for roads (all jurisdictions)
b) Explore and trial options for alternative heavy vehicle charging mechanisms
  • Undertake on-road heavy vehicle charging trials to test reform options (Cth)
c) Design heavy vehicle reform elements in a way that could be applied to broader road reforms in future, should governments decide to pursue them