The efficient movement of passengers and goods is of pivotal importance for Australia’s regional towns and cities. The provision of transport infrastructure and services for local communities supports economic development, promotes growth and leads to improved well-being. Regional Transport 2012 will take a closer look at the long-term passenger and freight transport requirements to support the advancement of Australia’s regional centres.
Freight transport is an important driver for regional development. According to current estimates the Australian freight task is expected to double by 2020, a tendency that poses as challenge to existing road, rail and port infrastructure. Strategic investments and upgrades in regional transport infrastructure are pivotal in order to ensure the future prosperity and progress in regional centres.
Australia’s population is expected to reach 35 million by 2050 and the nation’s regional towns will play an important role in supporting sustainable growth and connecting people with employment hubs. With the second phase of the federally funded High Speed Rail studycurrently under way, it is time to assess the opportunities Very Fast Trains could bring for regional centres in the proximity of the rail corridor.
Moreover, developing an integrated transport plan for the regional hubs surrounding our capital cities has become a major focus across all levels of government. South East Queensland and within that the Gold Coast are currently leading the way in local governance, providing first class modern passenger transport and planning for predicted population growth. With stage one of the construction forGold Coast Rapid Transit due for completion in 2014 and the successful bid for the Commonwealth Games 2018 expected to further boost the advancement of the city’s integrated transport plan, the Gold Coast provides the ideal setting to discuss the future transport needs for Australia’s regions.