Thursday, April 15, 2010

Rail industry is booming but national rail plan still needed

In the lead up to AusRAIL 2010 - themed "The Rail Plan: Where? How? Why?" - Bryan Nye, CEO of the Australasian Railway Association (ARA), says the rail industry is on the rise but a national transport plan still needs to be taken to government.

Mr Nye says that keeping rail matters on the agenda of all political parties is top priority this year.

As the Australian rail industry continues to boom, Mr Nye says the level of investment in rail is accelerating and the industry needs to quickly adapt to this growth:

"It will accelerate and the challenge for us in the rail industry is to meet that demand, and have the number of people in place, the right schools in place, because that demand will continue to increase."

A national transportation plan a challenge for Australia But despite a booming industry, a national transportation plan remains to be put forward to the government.

"One of the challenges Australia has is that it doesn't have a national transport plan, it doesn't have a national plan for moving people," says Mr Nye.

To tackle this, the ARA have suggested they will develop a national plan and sell, as well as ask, other industry groups to commit to the plan.

Mr Nye says they will use this national plan as a "vehicle" to take the industry further.

High-speed rail needed to help with congestion Mr Nye welcomes the introduction of high-speed rail and says the problem of congestion in Australia's busiest cities as well as the issue of separating passenger and freight lines needs to be considered in adopting a high-speed rail system.

"You got to know that the air travel between Sydney and Melbourne is the fourth busiest corridor in the world . . . And then the other issue is that we've got to get some of the passenger and freight lines separated. So we really need a whole new look at it," he says.

"Today they're building them [high-speed rail] in China - 12 in China. They're building them in a number of countries around the world. The technology is a lot cheaper, a lot easier to adopt. And so it is time in Australia."

As an election year, Mr Nye says the ARA plans to influence the agendas of all political parties to include rail and public transport. The ARA intends to pursue the creation of the national rail regulator and ensure that what has been agreed with COAG is actually implemented.

AusRAIL is a two-day convention for rail industry professionals to discuss issues and debates shaping the community. It will be held in Perth at the Perth Convention Exhibition Centre from 23rd - 24th November 2010.

Find out more about what AusRAIL 2010 has to offer you at www.ausrail.com

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