Go rail plan for the North Coast priority
A QUARTER of the Australian population will live in a 1000kilometre corridor between Hervey Bay and Coffs Harbour within 20 years, the Federal Transport Minister says.
Warren Truss has warned that national growth might be strangled by the strain of traffic volume in Australia's booming south-east.
Rail and shipping will need to shoulder the bulk of the transport burden in the future, Mr Truss told the Queensland Nationals' annual conference in Brisbane yesterday.
"Recent statistics show that the number of passengers being moved around (Australia) will have doubled by 2025, and by 2020 we will need twice as many trucks, twice as many trains, twice as many ships and twice as many aeroplanes just to do the task that is required today," Mr Truss said.
"There are many Australians who think we can't afford to have twice as many trucks on the roads so the reality is that the bulk mode of transport will be rail and shipping."
However, rail and shipping infrastructure would not cope with the enormous task in its current state, he said.
"They (shipping and rail) are going to have to do very much better, particularly rail," Mr Truss said.
"With the vital role that rail will play in the future of our transport system, it won't be good enough for it just to double in growth, otherwise our road system will choke."
The Federal Government would need to ensure better connections.
"For the first time, the Australian Government has been spending a significant amount of money on rail in the budget to provide for track upgrading between Melbourne and the Queensland border," Mr Truss said.