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Freight strategy launched for Northern Rivers region


Sharlene King
3 May 2019

Southern Cross University has played a leading role in the development of a regional strategy to improve freight and supply chain services across the Northern Rivers.

This landmark strategy, From Roots to Routes: An innovative vision of freight for the Northern Rivers, is a joint project with Northern Rivers Joint Organisation (NRJO), RDA Northern Rivers, NSW Department of Premier and Cabinet and Southern Cross University. It was launched on Friday May 3 at the Richmond Valley Council chambers in Casino.

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NSW Member for Clarence Chris Gulaptis launched the strategy on behalf of the partners and thanked the lead authors, Southern Cross University as well as industry participants and key stakeholders.

“This strategy is an important piece of research for the region and importantly outlines 20 key initiatives to improve connectivity for regional freight and transport industry and users,” Mr Gulaptis said.

“The strategy highlights that the rich agricultural land and coast of the Northern Rivers provides the produce for a diverse mix of seafood, fresh fruit, vegetables, nuts, meat, milk and milk goods and beverage manufacturing, all at both a small and larger scale.

“With a broad market reach at national and international levels, access to fast reliable freight networks are paramount for our region’s manufacturers,” he said.

The strategy’s vision for the Northern Rivers builds upon the existing road and rail networks already in place. The key proposed network changes include increasing regional connectivity through improved B-Double access to Bromelton, the Port of Brisbane, Southern Queensland and Brisbane through the Summerland Way and Clarence Way. It advocates for modification to the Mt Lindesay Highway; and Tenterfield and the New England Highway through the Bruxner Highway west of Casino as well as improved access through Lismore.

The utilisation of the coastal railway and the under-construction Inland Rail corridor to create a rail shuttle to the Port of Brisbane and to Toowoomba/Wellcamp Airport is also a priority under the findings of the strategy.

This includes intermodal hubs at Kyogle, Casino and Grafton to provide direct access to rail from within the region.

A key part of the Strategy is a new framework for regional collaboration that engages broadly with industry and agency stakeholders, to deliver on the initiatives in this plan and allow for capacity building and resilience within the Region for the future.

Southern Cross University’s lead researcher for the project Dr Ken Doust said the research team has developed the strategy based on a bottom-up approach from producers and manufacturers in the Northern Rivers region.

“The 20 initiatives establish both a guiding regional framework and a process for further, more-detailed collaboration at a local level. We see this as a living strategy that can continue to leverage specific local and region wide visions, enabling the freight supply chain to continue to adapt to changing circumstances, providing a resilient future for our producers, manufacturers and the wider community,” Dr Doust said.

Chair of NRJO, Cr Danielle Mulholland, supports the collaborative approach.

“There are always better outcomes when we work with other levels of government. This strategy is proof that cross-sector collaboration and involvement of business and industry leads to improvements that benefit our community,” she said.

Download the report From Roots to Routes: An innovative vision of freight for the Northern Rivers from the Northern Rivers Joint Organisation website.