Australian Transport News

QLD INLAND RAIL TRUCKWAY NEEDED

- Above: Gary Mahon

A dedicated truckway complement­ing a railway could fill the missing link between Inland Rail and Brisbane’s port, a Senate committee hears.

Stating that there is a shortfall in vision on how either end of Inland Rail is to work, Queensland Trucking Associatio­n (QTA) CEO Gary Mahon outlines a plan that, he argues, adds flexibilit­y and recognises risk on relying on a single, very costly modal link that would likely be in place for many decades.

"Our concern, with the Brisbane end and the Melbourne end, is that there is not enough detail," Mahon says.

"We don't see the foresight. We would prefer to see some lateral thinking in terms of where they could take the opportunit­y to make sure they optimise the benefit.

"For example, you cannot rely just on Acacia Ridge to be the terminus end of Inland Rail. It's highly contained as it currently is.

"To expand that capability in any way will, to coin a phrase, cost a fortune, because it's such a constraine­d environmen­t down there."

The position is part of evidence to the Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport References Committee’s hearings into management of the Inland Rail project.

Mahon argues for the need to set aside a greenfield site for a hub west of Brisbane, justified by Port of Brisbane projection­s of a tripling of volumes over 20 years.

He envisages that confirmati­on of the truckway as a "controlled corridor" would allow truckmaker­s to build specialist vehicles for the task that would be open to technologi­cal developmen­ts, including alternativ­e fuels and autonomy.

"You cannot rely just on Acacia Ridge to be the terminus end of Inland Rail. It's highly contained as it currently is"

It would handle containeri­sed freight and reduce the need for expensive tunnelling, leaving other freight to be carried by rail.

Mahon views it as "a blend of investment­s that I think gives you a much higher prospect of being able to meet the demands of the future".

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