Funding floodgates open

Funding floodgates open

Queensland Transport and Logistics Council welcomes the federal government move to bring forward infrastructure funding commitments to stimulate the economy. For Queensland this includes a $1.9 billion road and rail package with $650 million funding brought forward and a new commitment of $680 million.

The Queensland Government has committed a further $606 million and estimates more than 7,200 jobs will be created. Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk called the historic deal a “huge win”.

“I have always said we work best when we work together and this proves it,” she said.

Queensland can expect a steady flow of road and rail upgrades over the next four years with 20 projects brought forward including M1, Bruce highway, Warrego highway, Cunningham highway and $90 million for the North Coast Rail Line Beerburrum and Nambour upgrade. Further detail on the breakdown of project spending can be found in the media release here.

The ABC reported that Queensland Transport Minister Mark Bailey said the arrangement was particularly successful because it involved a shift in a stalemate regarding the Inland Rail project.

“Inland Rail presents an opportunity to move more freight onto trains and take trucks off the roads”, he said.

“That becomes more important as South East Queensland continues to grow.

 “This deal also prioritises planning for the passenger rail services that will be needed to serve growing parts of South East Queensland, like the Salisbury to Beaudesert rail link.”

The Queensland section of this nation building rail project is significant with an estimated $7 billion greenfield investment including tunnelling through the Toowoomba Range.

There are many issues with Inland rail yet to be carefully navigated including the alignment of the Condamine flood plain section. Meaningful progress on these concerns can now be achieved with an agreement in place.

The CEO of ARTCs Inland Rail group, Richard Wankmuller said at the Inland Rail conference earlier in the year that ARTC had learned many lessons about consultation working with effected communities along the line.

Richard said he was not surprised by the anger expressed by Condamine producers about the rail alignment considering all other infrastructure projects have washed away during severe flooding events. The answer it seems is technology and advanced engineering see earlier article on the conference here.

The Port of Brisbane won’t miss out either with $20 million funding set aside for a detailed study into the rail connection to the port.

Port of Brisbane CEO Roy Cummins said the announcement is a step in the right direction.

Funding a business case will allow all parties to assess demand, financing, design and timing for this project. It should also lead to corridor preservation as an immediate priority.

Details are yet to be ironed out and no doubt a steady stream of project announcements will follow in coming weeks.

Remote transport – ‘Hidden Tragedy’

Remote transport – ‘Hidden Tragedy’

Truck driving in remote areas is a difficult job. This is a fantastic initiative. 

A significant examination will be undertaken into the impacts on the wellbeing of heavy vehicle drivers in remote areas who often unwittingly become first responders to road accidents.

The NT Road Transport Associaton (NTRTA) and Western Roads Federation (WRF) will be consulting with drivers and member companies to better understand the extent of the problem, after receiving funding as part of the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator’s (NHVR) 2019 Heavy Vehicle Safety Initiative (HVSI), supported by the Federal Government.

NTRTA and WRF are encouraging drivers to contact them to share their experiences.

Read the full article here.

Courtesy of Fully Loaded.

Have Your Say – Effective Fatigue Management

Have Your Say – Effective Fatigue Management

Do work diaries manage fatigue well? 

Under the current law:

  • you can follow the prescriptive rules and still be drowsy
  • you can be fined for incorrect paperwork and be alert

So many rules, do they reduce fatigue? 

The Effective Fatigue Management project is part of the Heavy Vehicle National Law (HVNL) Review, looking to identify problems in the current fatigue management provisions in the the current laws and aiming to deliver safe driver outcomes.

Have your say in a quick survey.

Toowoomba Second Range Crossing, the wait is over

Toowoomba Second Range Crossing, the wait is over

The Toowoomba Second Range Crossing has long been one of the highest infrastructure priorities for Queensland and with $1.6 billion investment from the Commonwealth and State Government, it is now a reality. 

Nexus Infrastructure began construction of the 41km heavy vehicle route in 2015 and in September 2018 the bypass will finally open just in time for the Toowoomba flower festival. 

“Connecting the Warrego Highway at Helidon Spa in the east to the Gore Highway at Athol in the west, the new Toowoomba Second Range Crossing will form a vital strategic link within Australia’s National Freight Network and Toowoomba’s emerging intermodal network,” Mr McCormack said

The TRSC will create a safer, faster and more efficient route for connecting freight to major ports and markets. Toowoomba is a significant regional hub and the surrounding regions rich agricultural, gas and mining outputs contribute 20 per cent of the Port of Brisbane commodity exports.

Census data from 2012 indicates 23,000 vehicles crossed the range daily including 3,500 heavy vehicles. Primary production and general freight made up over 90 per cent of truck movements with an additional 2.7 per cent OSOM, 3.2 per cent FMCs, and 3 per cent fuel transport. 

The Queensland Transport and Logistics Council has long advocated for the construction of the TSRC providing a number of critical reports includingA Focus on Freight – Toowoomba Second Range Crossing and Future Freight in Queensland from a Global Supply Chain promoting the productivity benefits of enabling higher performance vehicle access to the route. 

Extended B-Triple (or similar HPV) access is one of the most significant potential benefits of the TSRC, with a direct benefit for the Dinmore abattoir, which is the largest in the Southern Hemisphere, processing 3350 head per day. Queensland has almost half of Australia’s cattle herd and the majority of the states feedlots and processing capacity is in the south east corner. 

QTLC advocated for larger livestock truck combinations to have access direct to JBS at Dinmore as the optimal outcome for safety, efficiency and productivity. In choosing the alternative option of Gatton as a break down point QTLC believes an effluent facility at the site will provide considerable benefit. 

Professional livestock carriers are using effluent tanks to reduce public hazard and biosecurity risks. The issue remains once collected what can the driver do with the waste when the tank fills up? 

The Australian Livestock Transport Association identified the TSRC as an opportunity to invest in an effluent facility and President Ian Wild is calling on “Queensland Government and Local Councils to commence planning for the construction and funding of managed roadside disposal sites for livestock effluent in South East Queensland”. Read the full article here

The issue of tolls has been hotly debated since the TRSC construction was announced. Queensland Trucking Association CEO Gary Mahon has been unwavering in his pursuit of the government to commit to a toll industry can work with. 

‘I am pleased to be able to tell you that Minister Bailey and the Palaszczuk Government have clearly listened and today have announced the toll arrangements which are a good result particularly the dropping of the super heavy (multi-combinations) toll proposal.’ Gary Mahon said

The freight industry has responded favourably to the $22.85 toll for all heavy trucks/combinations over 4.5 tonne as it is very comparable to the Gateway Motorway rate.

The Hon. Minister Mark Bailey MP has indicated the toll is unlikely to cover the annual maintenance cost leaving the government with an ongoing commitment. For the first three months, the TRSC will be free for all to use. For detailed information the Minister’s press release can be accessed  here and Transport and Main Roads website here.