National Farmers' Federation

North-South Railway finally ‘on track’

THE National Farmers’ Federation (NFF) has endorsed the Australian Government’s decision to commission a $15 million engineering and scoping study to determine the best alignment for an inland railway from Brisbane to Melbourne.
The NFF has called for a signal from the Government to investors that it is serious about delivering solutions to overcome the looming transport crisis as Australia’s freight needs are set to double by 2020.
“The NFF is 100% behind the development of the North-South Railway, using the far western sub-corridor,” NFF Vice-President Charles Burke said.
“This is a genuine nation building project that will provide greater capacity for farmers and the regional economy to get their produce from farms to markets – including international markets via ports – in the most efficient manner possible.
“Today, the Government has recognized the need to provide a clear signal to all potential investors along the corridor that it is committed to the delivery of planning and supporting infrastructure along the rail route.
“Increasing projected domestic demand for food and energy is seeing an unprecedented call upon transport for agricultural commodities. And while the domestic freight task across Australia is expected to double by 2020, in the eastern states this is expected to be closer to triple, according to the Bureau of Transport and Economics (BTRE).
“Transport infrastructure across all modes is vital to ensure that the on-farm efficiencies our farmers have consistently achieved over the past 20 years are matched through the supply chain.
“The NFF and its members have been increasingly concerned about the poor state, lack of reliability and overall dilapidated nature of Australia’s rail infrastructure. The inefficiencies created by our rail network not being ‘up to scratch’ hurt Australian farmers – and other exporters – everyday on the international stage.
“For farmers, getting agricultural produce to markets – both domestic and export customers – reliably and efficiently is vital to our ensure produce is fresh and price-competitive.
“We hope that today’s signal – via the $15 million investment – will see those investors who were looking to the May Federal Budget as the catalyst for getting ‘on board’ now have the confidence to commit to the next stage of the railways implementation – the development of freight hubs.”

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