If elected in March 2018, a State Liberal Government will develop an alternative corridor for heavy freight, which will avoid the heavily populated areas of existing freight routes, and be non-stop directly into South Australia’s biggest port – Port Adelaide.
South Australia has lacked a vision for growing our export capacity for more than a decade. Our share of national merchandise exports has shrunk from 7.3% to 4.3% over the past 15 years. There is no plan or blueprint for expanding our access to overseas markets and leveraging our competitive advantages as a state to boost exports, grow our economy and create jobs.
The current Labor Government has often set ambitious targets to grow our exports, without taking any meaningful action to achieve them. Hence, they constantly revise or abandon them and leave South Australia’s export performance to fall behind.
One of the keys to expanding our export performance is efficient market access through productive infrastructure.
South Australia used to suffer from the ‘tyranny of distance’ being so far from traditional markets like the UK and Europe. Now we are on the doorstep of Asia, the fastest growing economic region in the world.
By 2050, world food demand will increase by 70%. Much of that will occur in Asia, on our doorstep.
To take full advantage of markets in the region, our businesses need the most efficient and cost effective way to access those markets.
A generational upgrade of our freight export infrastructure is required to provide our companies with the competitive advantage they need to get our premium quality South Australian products to markets across the globe.
South Australia’s economic future does not lie in selling lattes to each other – we need to grow exports to transform our economic capacity and deliver tens of thousands of new, sustainable jobs into our economy.
THE STATE LIBERAL'S PLAN
There have long been proposals to develop a more convenient and safe corridor for freight movement into, and out of, metropolitan Adelaide. Currently, the vast majority of freight entering and exiting the city from Victoria and the state’s South East comes through the Adelaide Hills
By road it travels along the South Eastern Freeway down to the Toll Gate, then primarily it snakes along Portrush Road and Hampstead Road, then along Grand Junction Road to Port Adelaide, or up Port Wakefield Road and out of the city.
By rail it snakes through the Adelaide Hills and down into Mitcham, then adjacent to the CBD and up to the Port or up along Main North Road.
Our plan will develop an alternative corridor for heavy freight. The dangerous conditions on the Princes Highway and the noisy and disruptive freight railway will be replaced with a corridor which sweeps behind the Adelaide Hills from Murray Bridge up to Truro and then down from the north of the Barossa Valley to join road freight to the Northern Expressway before joining the Northern Connector and then the Port River Expressway and rail freight to the Adelaide-Darwin line north of Two Wells.
The corridor will utilise existing or legacy railway corridors and roads.
The corridor will avoid the heavily populated areas of the existing freight routes and be non-stop directly into the heart of the Port.
An effective and modern rail transport network is critical to managing the expected growth in the national land freight task.
The Adelaide Melbourne railway has served us well since the late 1800s. But we now need an alternative way to carry heavy freight through the Adelaide Hills.
The new northern bypass rail freight corridor will ensure South Australia continues to have a central role in interstate freight movements, by addressing current network limitations and future capacity constraints.
It will also provide internationally competitive transport outcomes for South Australian businesses, exporters, and potential investors through improved end-to-end supply chain efficiencies.
The existing rail freight alignment is failing to keep pace with either current or projected demand.
Tight curves, steep gradients, and height restrictions along the Adelaide Hills corridor, limit the ability to increase the freight load as trains must be single-stacked and cannot exceed 1,900 metres.
Removing freight trains from the Adelaide and Mitcham Hills will ease road infrastructure bottlenecks and help mitigate bushfire risk. As recently as 2014, a freight train was identified as the likely cause of a bushfire in Belair National Park.
With South Australia’s rail freight task forecast to increase by 90 percent between 2010 and 2030, capacity constraints are expected within the next 10-20 years.
Realigning freight movements along the northern bypass will enable South Australia’s network to capitalise on improved technology and modern operational practices – including longer, double-stacked trains – resulting in increased train speed and load carrying ability.
Safe, efficient and sustainable road freight infrastructure is central to unlocking the productive capacity of South Australian businesses and exporters.
A new road freight carriageway running parallel to the northern rail bypass would provide transport companies with unprecedented speed and efficiency in the movement of road freight in our State.
Articulated and heavy rigid trucks currently travel along metropolitan roads through densely populated suburban areas, battling local traffic conditions – congestion, reduced speed limits, traffic lights, and school crossings.
It is dangerous and inefficient.
The new corridor would provide freight trucks with unfettered access to and from Port Adelaide and the sorting yards north of the city, bypassing 36 traffic signals. The first traffic light encountered after leaving Victoria would be in the heart of the Port.
It would connect the South Eastern Freeway with the Sturt Highway and Northern Expressway, as well as the proposed Northern Connector, enabling a 100km/h link from Murray Bridge to Port Adelaide.
A State Liberal Government will work to keep large freight trucks off suburban roads, improving road safety, increasing productivity, and reducing costs associated with the transportation of road freight in South Australia.
At the Murray Bridge end of the new corridor, there is a perfect location to build a new, freight-only airport with no curfew, thus operating 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
This type of airport can produce significant efficiencies as the ﬂight schedule can be determined based on the most cost-effective time to land at the alternate destination.
As it is a freight-only terminal, there is also substantially cheaper operating costs.
There is a lot of interest from private equity to invest in airports of a similar nature. Being able to access export markets across Asia by efficient airfreight will open up enormous opportunities for our fresh produce and advanced manufactured goods.
An airport of this type would have the capacity to attract products for export from across our state, and would potentially attract export goods from the west of Victoria as well. Countless new and existing businesses would have a major change to market access capacity and cost structure.
Intermodal Export Park
By bringing together the four modes of freight movement, namely road, rail and air we will create an unprecedented opportunity for an Intermodal Export Park at the conﬂuence of these transport networks near Murray Bridge.
An intermodal combining all four forms of freight would be the first of its kind in South Australia and one of the few in Australia. The intermodal would be critical to realising the full potential of joining this infrastructure together.
Apart from freight movements, the intermodal would also have the capability to attract major logistics businesses, distribution, cold-chain and other freight-associated services.
The Intermodal Export Park would generate significant value from land sales, due to the substantial structure being proposed. This would provide a valuable dividend towards the infrastructure costs of the project.
The various elements of this project will be financed with a combination of state, federal and private equity funds.
A detailed business plan will be prepared as part of the master planning process to identify the most appropriate funding arrangement for delivering the various elements of this project and the subsequent benefits.
A State Liberal Government will partner with the federal government to deliver the funding required to make this project a reality. Private sector funding will also be sought where appropriate, however a road toll will not form part of the funding mix.
Securing federal funding will require submission of a Master Plan with a full business case and successful cost/benefit analysis to Infrastructure Australia. Complementing this process, a Marshall Liberal Government will establish Infrastructure South Australia as an independent body to manage this process and ensure the investment is of value for funds committed.
We want to engage with the community to deliver our vision.
As the next step, we will undertake three months of consultation with the community, stakeholders and interested parties to seek their views.
Based on the feedback we receive, a Marshall Liberal Government will initiate the development of the Master Plan for Globe Link.
This is a multi-billion-dollar vision that will take at least a decade to implement but the need to begin the planning is urgent.
We will initiate preparation of the Master Plan within 100 days of taking office.
You can read the full policy document here