The Australasian Railway Association (ARA) has announced the appointment of a General Director to its board.

Pacific National Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Paul Scurrah, has joined the ARA Board as General Director.

ARA Chair, Danny Broad, said Mr Scurrah’s appointment will ensure senior representation from major rail freight operators are at the ARA Board table, which sets the industry agenda. 

Mr Broad also said that the critical issues of moving more freight on rail, improving productivity, interoperability and network resilience as well as addressing skills shortages are high on the agenda for both government and industry.

“I am absolutely delighted that someone with Paul’s experience and passion for transport and freight has accepted our invitation to join the ARA Board and I look forward to working with him to advocate for greater use of rail freight across Australia and New Zealand,” Mr Broad said.

“Paul will support the ARA’s significant work to achieve greater interoperability, improve productivity and build resilience in the network as the sector works to meet the national growing freight needs.”

Mr Scurrah has more than 20 years’ experience in transport, logistics, travel, and aviation, including at the helm of Virgin Australia, Queensland Rail and port and supply chain operator of DP World Australia. He has also held senior leadership roles at Ansett, AWH and Australia Post and is a director of the Gold Coast Suns AFL team.

Mr Scurrah joins the board as the ARA delivers an extensive program of work to support the growth of the rail freight sector in Australia and New Zealand.

His appointment reflects ARA’s strong focus on growing the rail freight sector at a critical time, with rail expected to facilitate almost three quarters of the increase in Australia’s freight forecasted demand by 2030.

“I am passionate about getting freight back on track in Australia. Rail is at the heart of our economic and social development and plays an essential role in the national supply chain for communities across the country,” Mr Scurrah said.

“We have seen through the COVID crisis and recent extreme weather events the significant role that rail freight plays in moving Australia’s economy. At the same time, this has also exposed a growing skills shortage in our sector that we must address.

“Rail freight also plays an important role in the decarbonisation of transport and meeting Australia’s future net zero targets by dramatically increasing the volume of goods and commodities that can be moved in one journey.

“With unprecedented investment in the rail sector, now is the time to create transformational change and I am really pleased to have this opportunity to work with the ARA Board to achieve this.”

Mr Scurrah will attend his first board meeting in June 2023.

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