It’s been an extremely busy year at ARTC during which we’ve made some significant changes to improve our business operations.
Notably, we continued to work hard to boost safety, which is central to everything we do. As part of this, we initiated a program to review and strengthen the effectiveness of our critical safety controls, which are essential when carrying out high-risk work. In combination with a new health, safety and environment management system that we recently introduced internally, we’re steadily improving our ability to manage and drive better safety outcomes across our network.
We also sharpened our focus on our core objectives, including the operation, management and maintenance of track infrastructure as part of providing safe, efficient and effective access to our network.
Bolstering resilience is key to this – particularly in light of the extreme weather events that have severely disrupted our network and the broader Australian supply chain over the past two years. To that end, we’ve increased our investment, while our Interstate team is undertaking significant analysis and planning to identify works programs to strengthen network resilience. Indeed, our resilience work is a critical component of ARTC’s ESG Strategy, which we’ll share more details about in the next edition of ARTC News in the new year.
From an industry perspective, we’re helping progress several key initiatives, including a recent submission as part of the Review of the National Freight and Supply Chain Strategy to reiterate the criticality of network resilience.
This submission also highlighted the importance of rail interoperability, which has now been deemed a national priority by Federal and State Governments. As a result, we’re pushing forward with an Interoperability Action Plan in support of a framework being developed by the National Transport Commission to ensure a national view is taken across Australia’s various rail networks.
As part of the Freight on Rail Group, ARTC is also supporting The Future of Freight campaign, which was launched last month in partnership with the Australasian Railway Association. Underpinned by landmark research into rail freight productivity led by the Australasian Centre for Rail Innovation, the campaign reinforces the need for effective mode shift policies to facilitate greater use of rail freight for a stronger and more sustainable freight network.
And we continue to work with the Australian Government to implement the recommendations of the Inland Rail Review, including the establishment of a subsidiary company to enable more efficient planning and construction of the project. Inland Rail Pty Ltd is now operating in its own right, including its own governance and delivery arrangements, with the project remaining critical for the nation if we’re to keep pace with the increasing freight demands of our growing population. So it’s been great to see several major milestones reached in recent weeks as part of efforts to deliver between Beveridge in Victoria and Parkes in NSW by 2027. In addition to the Parkes to Narromine section, Narrabri to North Star Phase 1 is now complete too, with construction progressing well from Stockinbingal to Parkes and at multiple sites across Victoria.
Looking to 2024, we’re really excited about the year ahead in which we’ll further develop and execute plans to keep improving our infrastructure and the services we provide to our customers and other stakeholders.
Thanks for your ongoing support of ARTC and we look forward to continued collaboration.
Acting CEO, ARTC