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
At that time the SEATS Committee comprised:
- Australian Capital Region Development Council
- Bass Coast Shire Council
- Bega Valley Shire Council
- Bombala Shire Council
- Baw Baw Shire Council
- City of Casey
- Cooma Monaro Shire Council
- Dyers Gippsland Transport
- East Gippsland Shire Council
- Energy Brix
- Gippsland Development Ltd
- Greater Dandenong City Council
- Monash University
- Mornington Peninsula Shire Council
- Shoalhaven Shire Council (now City of Shoalhaven)
- Shire of La Trobe (now City of Latrobe)
- Tallaganda Shire Council
- T.J.Andrews Sawmills
- Wellington Shire Council
- Snowy River Shire Council
- Western Port Development Corporation
Membership of SEATS currently includes:
East Gippsland Shire Council, Latrobe City Council, Shellharbour City Council, Shoalhaven City Council, Wellington Shire, Wollondilly Shire Council, Baw Baw Shire Council, Bega Valley Shire Council, Eurobodalla Shire Council, Wollongong City Council, Yass Valley Council, Queanbeyan-Palerang Regional Council, South Gippsland Shire Council, Bass Coast Shire Council, Goulburn Mulwaree Shire Council, Snowy Valleys Council, Upper Lachlan Shire Council, Roads and Maritime Services(RMS), VicRoads, Bega Cheese, ,GHD, Murray Goulburn Co-Operative Ltd, NRMA, Forests NSW, Canberra Airport, NSW Ports, Port of Melbourne Corporation, RDA Far South East, RDA Southern Inland, Softwoods Working Group, Southern Group of Councils, RDA Gippsland, Kastan Consulting, VicTrack, Kenn Beer- Safe System Solutions, Bransgrove Transport.
Now 23 years later 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.