How transport is becoming a focus of the election

Commuters pass through a train station in Sydney. Getty.

This article is brought to you by the French-Australian Chamber of Commerce.

Australian cities are the focus of a new push from governments. Tackling economic productivity and the liveability of our cities are featuring highly in the Federal Election campaign.

The Turnbull Government’s first budget provided major commitments to cities policy and public transport infrastructure, positioning the government in stark contrast to its predecessor.

The renewed Federal Government interest in urban transport projects comes at a critical time for state governments, who are facing the dual challenge of strained transport networks and housing affordability pressures, along with constraints on budgets. The Budget contained significant investments in Sydney and Melbourne Metros as well as $95 million for Gold Coast Light Rail Stage 2, which is operated by French-Australian Chamber of Commerce (FACCI) member Keolis Downer.

Keolis Downer Group CEO, Benedicte Colin, sees the investment in these projects as having the capacity to reshape three of Australia’s largest cities.

“Stage 1 of the Gold Coast Light Rail has transformed the Gold Coast,” said Colin. “The next stage of light rail will provide a link to heavy rail provide a link for Brisbane bound commuters, students and day trippers to the Coast.”

“Stage 1 of the light rail was used by 6.5 million people in its first year of operation, lifting public transport use on the Gold Coast by 25 per cent. The light rail has been an anchor for new development along the corridor.”

“The government’s commitments are important to get the ball rolling. The next step for the Federal Government is to articulate a clear policy and framework for the ongoing provision of funding for urban mobility.”

Bill Shorten responded with a commitment to ’support funding’ rail to Western Sydney Airport, the Melbourne Metro, Cross River Rail in Brisbane, MetroNet in Perth, and AdeLink tram expansion and the Gawler Line Electrification in South Australia. These are conservatively valued at $40 billion and will likely require further investment from State Governments or the private sector.

“This is one of the most substantial periods of investment in urban transport ever undertaken in Australia”, said Colin. “It is pleasing that governments are also turn their minds to how to drive innovative, customer service and push the boundaries.”

“The Newcastle Integrated Service Offering, for instance, is the first multimodal public transport contract to be tendered in Australia.”

The multimodal approach puts the customer at the heart of the network and builds a service offering around them. This approach is enabled by new technology, like real-time passenger information, and boosts network efficiency.

“The NSW Government has also taken the lead by hosting a Future Transport forum to promote innovation and technology.,” says Colin.

“Later this year the ITS World Congress will also be held in Melbourne and is being supported by the Victorian Government and Keolis Downer.”

To discuss how transport, investment and innovation will reshape Australia, the French-Australian Chamber of Commerce is holding a Co-Innovation summit on Thursday the 19th of May.

To book your ticket, visit the dedicated website:

Keolis Downer is a major sponsor of the FACCI Co-Innovation Summit. Sandrine Gaubert, Keolis Downer’s Network Strategy and Development Manager, will speak at the event giving perspective on the vital role of co-innovation between business, community and government in driving reform in the delivery of transport services.

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