Rail productivity reform on the agenda

Following the recent Council of Australian Governments (COAG) agreement to progress national rail safety regulation, the National Transport Commission (NTC) has now outlined what it calls “an ambitious national reform agenda for rail productivity”.
NTC chief executive Nick Dimopoulos said further reform is essential to ensure rail plays its part in servicing the growing land freight task safely and sustainably.
“Freight customers want a rail option that better meets their needs,” he said. “While the review focused on freight rail productivity, it found that we can improve national policies and planning so all transport modes work smarter together and compete on their own merits.
“A focus on productivity reform will deliver a growing rail freight system, with better track speeds, quicker transit times, higher axle weights, improved service and reliability.
“The end result will be more competitive exports and lower cost products on supermarket shelves.”
Key recommendations of NTC’s Freight Rail Productivity Review include:
  • Clear national objectives and policies to plan and develop the right infrastructure;
  • Certainty and transparency of government subsidies to rail;
  • Explore options for more nationally consistent rail pricing and access regulation;
  • Open access regulation for key strategically-located rail terminals;
  • Long-term pricing reform so truck charges do not unfairly disadvantage rail;
  • Industry-led coordination of freight movements along the supply chain; and
  • Better performance measures for rail.
Mr Dimopoulos said the recommendations are consistent with the findings of the intermodal, grain, coal, livestock and meat supply chain reviews completed earlier this year.* NTC will work closely with all governments to progress the reform recommendations.
The review is the result of broad consultation with the rail industry, their customers, unions and governments.
You can download the final report here: Freight Rail Productivity Review Final Position Paper.
* NTC completed the supply chain pilots on behalf of the Capacity Constraints & Supply Chain Working Group led by South Australia (National Transport Policy Framework). More information is available here.

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