1301.0 - Year Book Australia, 2002
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 25/01/2002
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Transport infrastructure comprises three elements, all of which are required to perform the transport task:
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%.
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.
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.