Australia

Australian Government releases National Ports Strategy

The Australian Government has released the first ever National Ports Strategy for Australia, saying it will provide a new foundation for higher productivity and faster economic growth across Australia by improving the design, planning and performance of ports.

The strategy was launched by Prime Minister Julia Gillard and Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Anthony Albanese yesterday at Kwinana Port in Western Australia.

The government says that until now, there has been no national or coordinated approach to the development of the nation's ports, preventing the expansion of some ports and resulting in a lack of thought regarding road and rail links to support port activities.

The Federal Government commissioned Infrastructure Australia and the National Transport Commission (NTC) to develop the strategy. The strategy will now be submitted to the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) for endorsement.

The NTC welcomed the release of the strategy. NTC Chief Executive, Nick Dimopoulos said the strategy highlights the importance of Australia's ports to contributing to Australia's economic growth.

"The strategy is about creating a coordinated approach from all levels of government to planning for ports and their road and rail links," Mr Dimopoulos said.

The primary objective of the strategy, which will cover both bulk commodity ports and container ports, is to "improve the efficiency of port related freight movements across infrastructure networks, minimise externalities associated with such freight movements and influence policy making in areas relevant to freight."

The strategy outlines four priorities, consisting of: (1) planning for relevant ports and related infrastructure; (2) ensuring plans can be executed; (3) improving landside efficiency, reliability, security and safety; and (4) clarity, transparency and accountability.

The 'National Ports Strategy: Infrastructure for an economically, socially and environmentally sustainable future', was developed by Infrastructure Australia and the National Transport Commission. The PDF document (903 kB) is available from the NTC at <http://www.ntc.gov.au/filemedia/Reports/PortsStrategyJan11.pdf>.

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