Addressing a shipping indystry function, federal infrastructure minister Anthony Albanese said the multi-billion dollar AusLink program had not addressed the major connections between ports and landside modes.
“The AusLink system at the federal level pours billions of dollars into road and rail, all of which is I’m sure worthwhile, but it’s pretty obvious that a transport strategy that is directed towards getting goods or commuters to the outskirts of cities and then stops, is not good enough,” he said.
“It can take up to an hour or more to get the last five km between the port and where funding and support for road and rail stops.”
He said there was a need for a comprehensive approach to transport, which he said the new Infrastructure Australia body established this week would address.
Mr Albanese also criticesed the Howard government for failing to recognise and nurture the important part shipping plays in the country’s freight task. Describing shipping as “the lost but not forgotten component of the transport industry”, Mr Albanese said the Rudd Government accepted that it was now time for an integrated approach to transport that included a strong shipping sector.
“The previous government, when it came to pressing for reform, often forgot the important role that shipping can play both in terms of our trade but also in terms of addressing other externalities, such as climate change,” Mr Albanese said.