The great western highway passes through 10 school zones,44 speed zones,26 traffic lights and 17 towns and villages.
The highway also runs through a world heritage national park.
We need a long term, sustainable solution to the transport needs of the central west,not a highway widening that will result in a truck Tsunami which will forever change the Blue mountains.
THE BENEFITS OF RAIL FREIGHT VERSUS ROAD FREIGHT
-One train takes 154 trucks off the highway. (source Australasian Railway Association)
-Rail transport if far more fuel efficient and has far lower levels of carbon emissions compared to road freight. (source American Railway Association)
-Rail freight can transport One Tonne of freight over 436 miles on one gallon of fuel (source CSX)
-Railroads have a tremendous safety record for moving hazardous materials, including crude oil, with 99.9977% of all rail hazmat shipments reaching their destination without a release caused by a train accident. (source Association of American Railroads)
-Rail freight reduces the number of trucks on the highway meaning our highways are in better shape and require significantly less maintenance (1 semi-trailer truck has an impact on the road surface equivalent to 1,000 family size sedan cars, source University of Texas).
-We call on the State and Federal Governments to implement a package of strategic rail investments to reduce the number of trucks on the highway including:
-Reinstate the transport petroleum by rail subsidy to reduce the number of fuel trucks on the highway (estimate $2 million per annum)
-Fund the rail recommendations of the Central West Transport Study ($25 million)
-Fund the rehabilitation of the Blayney to Demondrille rail line ($30 million)
-Install bidirectional signalling between Lapstone and Lithgow and reinstate of crossovers at key locations ($25 million)
( Bidirectional signalling will greatly increase the capacity on the rail line through the Blue Mountains and improve reliability for passenger services.
There is no need for extra lines through the Blue Mountains.)
-Fund the completion of the Maldon to Dombarton rail line
-Support the construction of the Inland Melbourne to Brisbane Rail Line
(Numerous reports and studies have identified metropolitan Sydney as a major bottleneck to the movement of freight, particularly between Melbourne and Brisbane and between the NSW Central West and the ports.
There are also capacity limitations at Newcastle port in relation to the movement of coal and grain which is negatively impacting on overall freight transport efficiency. Proponents of the Melbourne to Brisbane Inland Rail Line argue that excess capacity at Brisbane and Melbourne Ports, combined with the negative cost impact of the Sydney freight bottleneck justifies the construction of an inland rail line between Melbourne and Brisbane.
This is estimated to cost between $3.7 billion to $4.4 billion over 1,000 kilometres and would enable high speed double stack container and high capacity bulk trains to travel at an average speed of more than 110km per hour.
This would allow the East Coast of Australia to capitalise on the massive rail freight efficiencies that have been developed by US railroads, thereby massively improving the productivity of rail freight in Australian. Basically, the trucking industry would not be able to compete.
What does this mean for us ?
-Freight for the Central West, whether export or import products would come via either Melbourne or Brisbane instead of across the Blue Mountains to Sydney, Port Kembla or Newcastle, thereby massively reducing the number of trucks on the highway through the Blue Mountains)
We also call on the Federal and State Governments to address the unfair tax and regulatory advantages given to road freight verse rail freight in Australia.
These initiatives will encourage more freight on rail and reduce the number of trucks on the highway.