The Western Australian Regional Freight Transport Network Plan, providing a long-term infrastructure blueprint for the development of the State’s regional roads, rail lines and port authorities was recently released by Transport Minister Troy Buswell.
Mr Buswell said the plan articulated strategic planning, policy and capital investment priorities to meet the freight transport demands of major industries and diverse communities across Western Australia to 2031.
“As the State’s population and economy continue to grow strongly, so too does the scale of the freight task in WA’s regions. By 2031 this task will be more than twice what it is today,” he said.
“The plan emphasises the State Government’s role in developing an efficient regional freight network, and its partnership with the private sector, particularly in relation to port and rail network development.
“It demonstrates that a substantial proportion of regional freight movements will continue to concentrate on a relatively small number of major corridors and facilities creating, in effect, a principal regional freight network for the State.
“Focusing the State’s freight planning, policy and project initiatives on this principal regional freight network, and ensuring its integration with major metropolitan freight corridors and facilities, will secure the greatest net benefit for the State and ensure the strength of the overall transport system.”
The Minister said the plan highlighted upcoming transport needs by providing an integrated set of short, medium and long-term strategic planning, policy and capital investment project priorities for the State’s regions.
“High freight growth regions such as the Pilbara and South-West will require a focus on infrastructure capacity upgrades and road expansion projects, while regions where ageing infrastructure is an issue, such as in the Great Southern and Wheatbelt, will require a focus on transport network rejuvenation,” he said.
“Our freight and logistics network is the lifeblood of WA’s economy; many of the priority projects identified are essential to further support and sustain nationally significant economic activity, with both local and national benefits.”
Mr Buswell said that by providing clear strategic direction for the development of the transport network over the next two decades, the plan sets an enduring foundation to inform and build investor and industry confidence as well as creating a framework for developing the State’s freight network.
“The Government will continue to make major investments in the regional freight network, but the major infrastructure required to provide additional capacity at our regional ports and freight rail lines requires an approach beyond that of relying exclusively on public funds,” he said.
The Government’s commitment to upgrade and expand the regional freight transport network is demonstrated by key projects already under way or completed across WA.