Greens NSW MP and Transport spokesperson Dr Mehreen Faruqi MLC has called on the Government to get serious in its efforts to get freight off roads and onto rail given it has made virtually no progress in increasing the share of freight on rail from 14% to their target of 28% by 2021.
Dr Faruqi said:
“In response to my questions in Budget Estimates this year, the Freight Minister admitted that even the modest Government target of 28% is ‘a long way off at the moment’.
“This is not surprising as the vast majority of the fully funded projects in the in 2013 NSW Freight and Ports Strategy Infrastructure Program are road freight projects.
“A government that is really committed to taking freight off our roads must prioritise funding for rail-freight.
“More freight on rail is good for local communities, as well as our environment and economy. It will reduce congestion and pollution.
“There are clear steps the government can be taking right now to get freight off the roads, including upgrading existing train lines where passenger and freight lines conflict, supporting the Melbourne to Brisbane Inland Rail and using Newcastle as a freight container port.
“The billions going into NorthConnex and WestConnex would be much better spent pursuing freight on rail options to clear up Sydney’s traffic congestion.
Budget Estimates questions: http://www.parliament.nsw.gov.au/prod/parlment/committee.nsf/0/76568d3c25f86990ca257d3b007cb13c/$FILE/69827817.pdf/Transcript%20-%20Uncorrected%20Proof%20-%20Roads%20and%20Freight%20-%2021%20August%202014.pdf.pdf (Page 43).