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1301.0 - Year Book Australia, 2002  
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 25/01/2002   
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Contents >> Transport >> Transport infrastructure

Transport infrastructure comprises three elements, all of which are required to perform the transport task:

  • physical infrastructure - e.g. roads, rail track, ports, airports, pipelines;
  • transport equipment - e.g. motor vehicles, trains, ships, aeroplanes; and
  • people with the necessary skills - e.g. licensed drivers, pilots etc.


Physical infrastructure

Australia requires a vast transport network, and the cost of building and maintaining this infrastructure is very high. During 2000 the value of public and private sector engineering construction was $5,490m on roads, highways and subdivisions; $366m on bridges; $649m on railways; $147m on harbours and $366m on pipelines. Major projects under way in 2001 include a rail link to Darwin and the strengthening or replacing of many road bridges on major freight routes to allow for heavier freight-carrying vehicles.


Length of the road system

Table 23.25 shows the map lengths of Australian roads. Although most States and Territories upgrade some of their roads each year, all except the ACT continue to have more kilometres of roads of gravel, crushed stone or other improved surface than kilometres of bitumen or concrete. South Australia has the lowest percentage of bitumen or concrete roads to total roads at 28.6%.


23.25 LENGTHS OF ROADS OPEN FOR GENERAL TRAFFIC, By Road Surface and State/Territory - At 30 June 2001

Surface of roads
Units
NSW(a)(b)
Vic.(c)
Qld
SA
WA(d)
Tas.(e)
NT(f)
ACT

Bitumen or concrete
km
89,559
75,320
68,076
27,714
49,097
10,311
6,431
2,537
Gravel, crushed stone or other improved surface

km
92,278
53,630
51,741
41,228
55,911
(g)12,945
6,570
133
Formed only
km
(h)
26,650
43,235
18,615
29,002
700
7,633
-
Cleared only
km
n.a.
(i)
15,244
9,205
13,779
(i)
751
-
Total
km
181,837
155,600
178,295
96,762
147,789
23,956
21,385
2,670
Percentage of total surface with bitumen or concrete

%
49.3
48.4
38.2
28.6
33.2
43.0
30.1
95.0

(a) Excludes Lord Howe Island, forestry controlled roads or crown roads.
(b) Road length is defined as route (end-to-end) length plus ramps, connections, additional carriageways, etc. All reported lengths include roads, bridges and ferry route lengths.
(c) Excludes roads coming under the responsibility of the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources. Excludes service roads previously reported. Includes Vic Roads declared roads as at June 2001 and unclassified roads as at June 2000.
(d) Excludes approximately 25,300 kilometres of forestry roads.
(e) Includes an estimate for forestry roads.
(f) Excludes roads not managed by the Northern Territory Government.
(g) Includes local government roads in Formed only and Cleared only categories.
(h) Included in gravel, crushed stone or other improved surface.
(i) Included with Formed only.

Source: Derived mainly from Road and Traffic Authorities and local government sources in each State and Territory.


Rail network

Table 23.26 shows the diversity of track gauge in Australia, reflecting the historical development of State infrastructure. It also reflects private development, such as the 4,150 route-kilometres of narrow gauge associated with the Queensland sugar industry. Competition reform and government policy to allow open access have resulted in private companies offering freight and passenger services over government-owned track.


23.26 AUSTRALIAN TRACK NETWORK(a), Route Kilometres Operated - at 30 June

Gauge
1999
2000
2001

Narrow
- 610mm
4,150
4,150
4,150
- 1067mm
15,122
15,081
15,081
Standard 1435mm
16,381
16,339
16,339
Broad 1600mm
4,009
4,009
4,009
Dual
264
265
265
Total
39,930
39,844
39,844

(a) Includes tram and light rail.

Source: Australasian Railway Association Inc.


Airports

At 14 June 2001, there were 281 licensed airports in Australia and its external territories. Of these, ten were operating as international airports servicing scheduled international airlines (see table 23.18). The majority of licensed airports are owned and operated by local councils, State government departments and private companies. The remaining airports are owned and operated by the Department of Defence or leased by the Commonwealth to private sector companies or government corporations.

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