A $175 million project to unclog and duplicate freight rail to Port Botany will be funded if the Bill Shorten-led Australian Labor Party wins at the election on July 2.
Labor’s infrastructure leader Anthony Albanese made the announcement on Wednesday.
He said the project is needed to create jobs and boost operations at the port.
“As a main gateway for container freight, unclogging Port Botany is a priority project for the future of Sydney industries, and central to boosting employment in the industry,” Albanese said.
“Duplicating the rail will free up the movement of goods for exporters and importers, reduce logistics costs and boost capacity, productivity and jobs across industries that rely on container movements through the Port.”
Labor will make the $175 million commitment as an “equity injection,” the shadow minister explained, meaning it “will not have an impact on the underlying cash balance or fiscal balance”.
Sydney Ports is predicting a growth rate of 5-7% each year for rail freight at Port Botany.
“The more freight that travels by rail, the less congested the roads around Port Botany, including the M5, will be,” Albanese added.
The funding will also provide a crossing loop at Warwick Farm in Sydney’s west, a move Albanese says will facilitate better rail efficiency in south-western Sydney.
The news was welcomed by the Australian Logistics Council.
“Duplicating the Port Botany rail line is critical to improving the overall efficiency of Sydney’s freight supply chains and is welcomed by the logistics industry,” ALC managing director Michael Kilgariff said.
“ALC also supports the Opposition’s commitment to provide funds for a crossing loop at Warwick Farm in Sydney’s West.”
Kilgariff said the move would be crucial to getting more shipping containers onto rail in and out of Port Botany. He said the share of rail freight currently sits at 16%, and is well below NSW Ports’ target of moving 3 million TEU of containers by rail, every year, over the long term.
“An efficient rail freight connection to Botany will also underpin improved efficiencies in the supply chain which a number of planned intermodal facilities in Sydney will help to deliver,” he added.
“There has been considerable progress over past 12 months to develop a number of intermodal projects in Sydney, which will transform how freight is moved to and from Port Botany.
“These include the Qube/Aurizon Moorebank Intermodal Terminal project, Asciano’s proposed ‘constellation hub’ strategy for Sydney, a proposal by DP World and Toll to connect a container staging zone at Port Botany to an intermodal freight terminal at Villawood and last week’s commencement of operations at NSW Ports’ Enfield Intermodal Logistics Centre by Aurizon.
“Ensuring there is appropriate capacity on the Port Botany rail freight line is critical to maximising the economic potential of these major logistics projects.”