Cross Border Transport Planning and Strategic Opportunities; ... Cross Border Transport Planning and

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  • Cross Border Transport Planning and Strategic Opportunities;

    In terms of transport, the strategic planning considerations need to include state, federal and local government transport infrastructure. With the regions proximity to the Queensland border, cross border co-ordination and alignment of strategies are critical to the regional planning process. The key for the Kyogle area, and the region more generally, is the Summerland Way corridor development. The development of this corridor to a standard suitable for B-double vehicles will allow the region to take advantage of a number of integrated freight transport opportunities. These include the road/rail interchanges along the Sydney to Brisbane Rail Corridor, and the subsequent connectivity this provides to the likes of the Bromelton State Development Area, the Darling Downs, the ports of Sydney and Brisbane, and the Western Brisbane Wellcamp airport.

    The Summerland Way is the logical alternative to the Pacific Highway as a heavy transport route, and the strategic planning to realise this needs to commence in the near future, and should be recognised as a major priority in any regional or cross border planning process.

    Council is thankful for the work of the Cross Border Commissioner in attempting to advance the levels of collaboration across the NSW and QLD border. The two main cross-border transport issues affecting the Kyogle communities are the lack of cross border planning inland from the coastal zone, and the impractical nature of the interstate passenger train timetable. These two issues are outlined in the Kyogle Council submission to the QLD-NSW Statement of Principles and Priorities for Cross-Border Collaboration 2-17/18 worklist (copy attached).

    Cross-border planning is covered for the Tweed area, but there is a need to include plans for connectivity on the inland routes to the QLD State Development Area at Bromelton and into the Darling Downs through Warwick. The plan should also acknowledge the Wellcamp airport and Port of Brisbane as integral components of the freight network for northern NSW.

     Summerland Way (NSW) - Mount Lindesay Highway(QLD) cross border freight connection

    as an alternative to compliment the Pacific Highway

    o Alignment with the Sydney-Brisbane Railway provides opportunities for improved regional

    freight movements when road/rail interchanges are completed at Bromelton in QLD and

    Casino in NSW

    o The cross border route needs to be upgraded so it is suitable for b-doubles, and to this

    end a route assessment in partnership with Main Roads QLD is needed as soon as

    possible, and should include options such as the east of Mount Lindesay deviation

    o Need to finalise the Summerland Way Corridor Strategy which has been in draft form

    since September 2016, Councils submission to the draft Summerland Way Corridor

    Strategy from October 2016 is included as an attachment to this submission

     Mount Lindesay Road (Woodenbong to Legume) improvements need to be accelerated and

    completed in partnership with Tenterfield Shire Council and the Australian Government as

    this Regional Road provides the most direct connection between the Northern Rivers and

    the Darling Downs region in QLD, however this road is currently one of the poorest heavy

    vehicle routes left in NSW

     The Sydney-Brisbane XPT timetable needs to be changed to allow the service to be used

    for day trips between the northern rivers towns of Casino and Kyogle and Brisbane

     Investigation of other opportunities for improved access to public transport to access

    services that exist in the QLD side of the border, and to attract interstate and international

    visitors from the south-east QLD area

  • Local infrastructure funding priorities and programs

    Regional Road Backlog; The Regional Road (Classified Road) network provides a vital link between the many townships, villages, and aboriginal communities across NSW and their nearest regional centres. These Regional Roads are particularly important for many of the more isolated and lower socio-economic areas. The Regional Road network also provides the main transport link for tourists and visitors to these areas, and the poor standard of many of the Regional Roads currently serves as a deterrent to attracting visitors

    Regional Roads were handed to local government by the state three decades ago with many of these roads in a state of disrepair and/or not constructed to modern standards. Backlog issues include; o Timber bridges

    o Narrow and thin pavements

    o Unsealed sections of highly trafficked roads

    o Poor alignments

    o Blackspots

    Whilst the Regional Road Block Grant and Repair Program funding provided through the RMS is allowing Councils to make gradual improvements over time, there is an urgent need to provide an additional injection of funds into the Regional Road network in order to address this backlog in the near future and unlock the economic opportunities this would create. This could be achieved with minimal effort by increasing the budget of these existing funding programs administered through the RMS. In the Kyogle local government area the main priorities are;

    o Initial sealing of the Clarence Way (MR150) south of the Bruxner Highway (SH16)

    o Widening of narrow sections of the Clarence Way from the Bruxner Highway (SH16)

    through Bonalbo and onto Woodenbong

    o Replacement of remaining timber bridges on Kyogle Road (MR141) and Bentley Road

    (MR544)

    Last Mile and First Mile Industry Transport Links; Whilst the draft strategies recognise of the importance of the “last mile” transport links, there is currently only very limited State Government funding available for these Local Roads, and this is through competitive grant programs such as Fixing Country Roads, and Black Spots/Safer Roads, which are also able to be used for funding the State Road network. The strategy will only be realised if funding programs are structured so as to ensure equitable access to all local government areas, with priority going to those with small populations and larger road networks.

    Assisting Councils to fund improvements to the first/last mile transport infrastructure will provide vital support for our existing local industries, reduce the cost of doing business, increase efficiencies, and remove barriers to growth in rural and regional NSW.

    The key local industries that are looking for this support include primary producers, agri- businesses, timber plantations, extractive industries, and the various supply industries that support them. However, the many narrow and poorly aligned roads create safety and efficiency issues when larger transport vehicles share these roads with residential traffic. The main issues that need to be addressed include;

    o Upgrades to timber and load limited bridges to allow for higher mass limits

    o Initial sealing of unsealed roads in highly trafficked areas

    o Widening and realignment of narrow winding roads

    o Improvements to school bus routes and pick up areas

    o Disaster resilience for critical local and regional infrastructure

  • Equitable access to services for regional communities

    The Draft Future Transport Strategy contains a number of promising goals and objectives around equitable access to transport for rural and regional communities, and the recognition of the importance of increased accessibility is welcomed. Council supports the focus of the strategy on a number of areas where there is a direct need for improvements within the Kyogle area such as;

     Upgrades to town centres to create vibrant places and experiences, particularly those

    located along State Roads such as in the township of Kyogle

     Heavy vehicle detours or bypasses for town centres, again this is a priority for the

    township of Kyogle to remove the heavy vehicle traffic from the town centre

     A safe transport system for regional communities

     Investigation of options for public/private partnerships to utilise the existing school bus

    assets to provide additional public transport between villages and the regional centres,

    which would address a particular need for the ageing population and people living with

    disabilities requiring access to services through the proposed hub and spoke model for

    rural and regional NSW

     The ongoing value to the community of funding for cycleway and footpath extensions

    Whilst Council supports these initiatives being included in the Future Transport Strategy, there is very real concern that there appears to be no proposals that directly address public transport options in our region. The public transport discussion still appears to be very much focused around the metropolitan areas of Newcastle, Sydney, Wollongong and Canberra.

    The lack of public transport is an issue of regional significance, and investigations into the opportunities for rail connectivity at the eastern and western ends of the region should be included in any regional or cross border planning. Busses are probably the only viable public transport option for the region at present, but these are few and far between and need to significantly improve. The long term strategic planning to allow for improved public transport in the region relies heavily on cross border co-ordination to allow expansion of the QLD public transport systems across the NSW/QLD border and into the region.

    Specific projects id