A new report has been launched by the Australasian Rail Association (ARA) chief executive officer, Danny Broad, to highlight the contributions of rail to Australia.

The Value of Rail Report was launched at AusRAIL Plus 2017 on 21 November and highlights how rail is providing a solution to shaping the country’s cities and regions.

“We know that Australia’s population increases at a rate of 370,000 people every year. By 2060, both Sydney and Melbourne will have grown by approximately three million people each,” Mr Broad said.

“As Australia’s population increases, so too does congestion and the demand for improved transport solutions.”

Mr Broad said to manage these challenges, “Australia will have to develop its multi modal transport solutions with light and heavy rail as its spine” to provide the solutions that Australia needs in shaping cities and regions into the future.

He said growth in freight traffic was even greater, with a potential 88 per cent  increase in kilometres travelled by 2050, and an increase of some 2.5 million trucks and light commercial vehicles on roads.

“This growth in freight underscores the need for an efficient supply chain and for a heavy vehicle pricing framework that accurately captures the cost of road infrastructure provision and the negative externalities of road usage, such as congestion, vehicle emission and accidents – a point which is reinforced in the report.

“It is precisely for these reasons that the ARA has been engaging with Commonwealth, State and Territory governments on the benefits of our National Rail Industry Plan.”

Mr Broad said the cost-benefit analysis demonstrates how rail makes a significant contribution to the Australian economy.

“We inject around $26 billion into the national economy, contributing 1.6 per cent of GDP and a key enabler of exports.

“We create over 140,000 jobs in our cities and our regions, provide safe, efficient, environmentally and socially beneficial modes of transport.

“We ask governments to get on board and implement our National Rail Industry Plan to provide the rail industry and the broader Australian community with long-term certainty of improved transport solutions for the benefit of all.” 

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