A recent spate of truck accidents on the Hume Highway has caused Liberal candidate Angus Taylor to call for more freight rail investment.
“It is clear that an increasing number of trucks are involved in major accidents on the Hume,” the candidate for the federal seat of Hume said.
“These accidents are just another reason why we need to look hard at how we meet the fast growing freight task in the country.”
The NSW Transport Masterplan recently released and an earlier report by Infrastructure Australia (IA) have both flagged that longer articulated vehicles may be trialled on the Hume, and other regional highways.
Mr Taylor said an inland rail corridor was the solution.
“For many years now I have been arguing to establish an inland rail line… [from Melbourne to Brisbane].
“Doing this will get trucks off the Hume, will reduce our long-distance freight haulage costs, and will also support improvement in our grain haulage systems.”
Citing numerous accidents on the Hume Highway in recent weeks involving trucks, Mr Taylor said it was the right time to be looking at how to meet the needs of the freight industry.
“Earlier in the year, IA provided its annual report… That report announced a proposal that b-triples should be trialled on the Hume Highway from next year.
“I have been and remain highly critical of this development.
Mr Taylor said the issue of accidents on the Hume Highway was close to home for him.
“I drive on that highway several times each week, and have driven this road regularly all my life. As the months and years pass, the Hume looks more and more like a continuous road train.
“I will continue to fight for investment in rail freight as a solution to the crisis on our roads.”
In his 22-point policy platform, independent Hume candidate James Harker-Mortlock says he would support Goulburn as a freight and rail hub but does not specifically mention a Melbourne to Brisbane freight corridor.
State transport plan ignores regions
Meanwhile, the NSW opposition has criticised the government’s transport masterplan released last week.
Shadow Minister for Transport, Penny Sharpe, said the plan was Sydney-centric.
“Anyone living outside of Sydney will be furious with the Liberals and Nationals’ focus on Sydney – while ignoring the significant transport issues throughout regional NSW.”
Shadow Minister for Regional Infrastructure, Mick Veitch, chimed in saying rural and regional tax payers were being gypped.
“The Liberals and Nationals were meant to deliver a transport masterplan for the entire state – what happened?
“I’ve never seen a more Sydney-centric report.”