Frequently Asked Questions

What is the objective of compiling key freight routes?

The objective of the maps is to represent the key road and rail routes that connect the nationally significant places for freight in Australia. They are a coordinated initiative by state, territory and Commonwealth governments, in consultation with industry, to develop a more comprehensive understanding of the national land freight system.

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What are the guiding principles underlying the mapping of key freight routes?

Guiding principles for identifying key freight routes were agreed to by jurisdictions. Final guiding principles are road and rail routes that:

  • Connect existing and potential nationally significant places for freight such as:
    • intermodal freight terminals;
    • industrial, mining and agricultural precincts;
    • significant freight destinations in regional centres; and
    • interstate freight.
  • Carry:
    • high volumes of freight; and/or
    • high value commodities; and/or
    • a high frequency of heavy vehicles; and/or
    • specific commodities of high economic significance for the region.

Priority road and rail freight routes designated within a jurisdiction by legislation, policies, strategies and frameworks have also been included.

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What are the key freight route maps used for?

The key freight route maps are intended to inform decisions by governments and industry on commercial, regulatory and policy initiatives. It is envisaged that the maps will evolve over time in response to changes in actual freight movements and the factors that affect those movements.

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What is the relationship between the key freight route maps and the National Land Transport Network?

The National Land Transport Network (NLTN) is a key part of the Australian Government's Infrastructure Investment Programme, which has the objective of achieving a safe, sustainable national transport system that enhances the interconnectivity of corridors of significant economic opportunity across Australia. The focus of the NLTN is connectivity between capital cities, or major centres of commercial activity or intermodal terminals. It covers both freight and passenger movements. The NLTN plays an important role in the strategic planning for current and future road, rail and intermodal terminal infrastructure. The NLTN is determined by the Commonwealth Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development under the Nation Building Program (National Land Transport) Act 2009. This legislation sets out the criteria which must be met for inclusion in the NLTN.

The mapping of key freight routes is a separate initiative. It aims to represent in an objective and practical way the nationally significant land routes for moving freight in Australia. The maps are a coordinated initiative by state, territory and Commonwealth governments in consultation with industry to develop a more comprehensive understanding of the national land freight system. The maps are intended to be practical documents that can inform policy decisions by all levels of government.

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Why are there 3 sets of maps for the Australia-wide, state, territory and major metropolitan areas?

For some of the city-wide maps that show both road and rail infrastructure, there are some instances where a road or rail route adopts the same alignment, and hence the separate modes may not be distinguishable. For this reason, maps are also supplied that separately show the road and rail infrastructure.

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How do the 'Secondary, Cross Border Road Connections' identified on the maps relate to the key freight routes?

All routes contained in the maps have been nominated by state and territory governments. The key freight routes within a state or territory were those considered by the relevant state or territory as the most important freight routes within its borders. 'Secondary, Cross Border Road Connections' highlight routes that did not meet the same criteria or level of significance for the relevant jurisdiction but which were identified as providing critical linkages by a neighbouring jurisdiction.

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Why does the level of detail vary across the maps (for example, in relation to intermodal terminals)?

States and territories have provided varied levels of information concerning terminals and road/rail routes. As these are the first key freight route maps, we anticipate that they will be developed further over time.

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Key Freight Route Maps