The South East Australian Region embraces south-east NSW, eastern Victoria and the Australian Capital Territory and is bounded by the Hume Highway corridor between Sydney and Melbourne and the coastal strip between Wollongong and Westernport Bay.
It is a large Region of over one and a half million people and one of the fastest growing regions in Australia. It is rich in primary resources, has a skilled workforce, wonderful natural assets and has huge potential which opportunities for improvements to transport infrastructure would provide.
Inadequate transport infrastructure has been identified as a major impediment to the growth and prosperity of this important Region. In response the SEATS partnership has developed the Transport Network Strategy which collectively identifies a number of Priority Projects that go beyond the boundaries of individual local councils and benefit the entire region and beyond. The attraction of investment in these transport and infrastructure projects through strong advocacy will significantly improve the efficiency of the transport network across the region, support sustainable growth, boost the economic competitiveness, improve employment prospects and enhance communities through improved, safer access to vital health, education, sport and recreational, government agencies and business services.
This is the simple vision of SEATS, an effective integrated transport network that stimulates economic growth that is sustainable and sensitive to the environment and enhances communities.
To support this vision SEATS has developed a number of principles to guide its work and has encouraged all levels of Government to consider them when planning for the future.
- Promote economic and employment opportunities through a regionally based approach to transport needs.
- Integrate freight network plans and land use planning.
- Maintain and improve existing and future business productivity, efficiency and viability.
- Strategic planning is network based.
- The transport strategy integrates all transport modes and intermodal facilities.
- Strategic priorities are based on area wide needs and economic outcomes.
- Freight network planning recognises the importance of the environment and climate change impacts.
- Planning for freight infrastructure needs to be on a short, medium and long term basis.
- Longer term plans need to ensure that suitable transport corridors are set aside and maintained.
- Network strategic planning recognises local, State. Federal and Industry policies and strategies.
- Network strategic planning recognises cross border issues and reflects influences from outside the SEATS region that impact on the region.
- That tourism is considered in the freight planning in order to provide greater safety for all users.
- Projects and priorities are supported and promoted by SEATS members.
Solid planning and advocacy have helped deliver several vital projects across the region over the past 25 years, has supported and promoted the growth of industry and engaged with many communities to address the issues that are creating barriers to their growth and prosperity.
The SEATS Regional Strategic Transport Network document has been developed to achieve the following for the Region:
- Economic Competitiveness by improving access to jobs, ports and key locations of economic activity
- Environmental Protection by providing sustainable transport systems and networks aimed at meeting existing and future need whilst minimising the impact on the environment.
- Enhanced Liveability by improving people’s access to places of work, education, recreation and public health services.
- Governance by ensuring that decisions on regional infrastructure investments on transport are well informed, with improved integration of transport planning, evaluation and assessment.
- Improved safety outcomes for all users delivered across the Region through improved infrastructure networks.
SEATS membership has confidence in advocating issues of local and regional interest to Government. The basis of this strong advocacy is the development of a list of Priority Projects through its Strategic Transport Network document. It is a “living” document where new projects are added by SEATS members and supported by the work of RMS and VicRoads. All elected Government representatives and agencies across the Region have received a copy of this document. It covers National, State and Local transport needs and will be the basis of continued discussions with the decision makers, providing the strongest support for vital projects in a truly Regional approach.
SEATS meets four times a year, with two meetings held in Victoria and two in NSW/ACT. Meetings which are hosted by Councils and other SEATS members are well attended over two days and comprise a Business session with a number of presentations from invited guests on matters of interest and information on SEATS projects, industry developments and government policies and strategies. Reports are received each meeting from VicRoads, RMS and Transport Victoria and the SEATS members provide a report on the progress of priority projects in their areas. Delegates have the opportunity to raise issues and discuss how SEATS may support them.
SEATS – South East Australian Transport Strategy Inc. was created by a group of Victorian (VIC) and New South Wales (NSW) Local Government Councils concerned with the poor transport infrastructure in south eastern Australia. Their initial focus was on the need to improve road funding across the Region, recognition of the Princes Highway as a National Highway and to encourage a Very Fast Train through Gippsland.
In August 1995, under the auspice of Regional Development Gippsland, the SEATS committee received a grant from the Commonwealth Department of Housing and Regional Development to undertake a study of the region’s transport needs.
Ove Arup and Partners was commissioned in November 1995 to undertake the transport study.
The main aims of the Study were to:
- Identify the role that transport plays in regional social and economic development
- Identify the main transport related constraints to, and opportunities for, regional, social and economic development
- Identify a range of transport and transport related options for improving regional, social and economic development
- Evaluate the effectiveness of the key options identified and recommend the most significant priorities for regional advancement
Today, with the SEATS Region continuing to grow rapidly the need for an efficient transport infrastructure network is even more vital for economic development and important social outcomes.
Although there has been significant planning and investment over the years inadequate transport infrastructure and limited road, rail, sea and air transport are still impeding the economic development of the SEATS region which embraces south-eastern NSW, eastern Victoria and the Australian Capital Territory and is bounded by the Hume Highway between Sydney and Melbourne and the coastal strip between Wollongong and Dandenong.
The need for additional infrastructure has been identified collectively by the region’s local government authorities, regional development organisations, state government agencies, and industry bodies. These diverse organisations have collectively taken a holistic approach to the region’s transport network. The membership of SEATS and support for the work it does continues to grow and SEATS is widely recognised and respected for its strong advocacy and advice on priority projects across the region.
A lot of work which is reflected in the SEATS Strategic Transport Network document identifies what infrastructure exists now and what is needed in the future to improve transport and access to Gippsland, Western Port, the Snowy Mountains, Yass Valley, the Goulburn and Crookwell areas, the Illawarra-Shoalhaven region, the south coast of New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory. These include regional transport hubs and associated developments.
Its network of road, rail, seaports, airports and intermodal facilities should be able to move freight, people and commodities efficiently and connect with the transport network and markets beyond. Regional freight requirements and logistics change over time and the transport network also needs to be able to adapt to these changes to maximise productivity.
SEATS prides itself on providing a non party political and non parochial forum to promote transport improvements and solutions within our region to all levels of Government.
SEATS members urge all levels of government to base future transport infrastructure planning decisions on an understanding of the entire network. Such an approach will maximise the economic and social connectivity of the entire transport network.