Inland Rail driving economic opportunities

10 April 2019

Federal Government is taking action to drive long-term employment and economic opportunities in regional communities by building the Inland Rail.

That’s why Expressions of Interest (EOI) are being sought for a Public Private Partnership (PPP) that will deliver the 1700 kilometre rail track’s most technically complex leg situated between Gowrie and Kagaru in Queensland.

This Inland Rail is being built to connect farmers in some of Australia’s most productive agricultural regions—including South-East Queensland—into booming domestic and export markets more efficiently, in higher volumes and at lower transport costs.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Michael McCormack said these employment and business opportunities were central to the Inland Rail line being built, to benefit regional communities and economies through more efficient logistics networks.

“Inland rail is one of the most exciting nation-building infrastructure projects in decades and we want to maximise its potential benefits,” Mr McCormack said.

“The Australian Government is building this 1700 kilometre Brisbane to Melbourne rail line to help boost the nation’s freight capacity, while generating jobs and opportunities for regional communities, in view of the nation’s freight task expected to double in the next 20 years.

“Inland Rail is about more than a railway—it’s about opening up a world of opportunity for inland Australia and helping to grow and sustain regional communities and economies.

“Transformational infrastructure projects like Inland Rail come along once-in-a-generation which is why it’s important we work in partnerships, strategically, to build this important section of the rail route between Gowrie and Kagaru in Queensland.”

Through the PPP, the Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC) and the private sector will undertake approximately 8.5 kilometres of major tunnelling through the Toowoomba, Teviot and Little Liverpool ranges.

This project will help to deliver the largest diameter diesel freight tunnel in the Southern Hemisphere, as well as approximately 126 kilometres of new and upgraded rail track.

The innovative design of the Gowrie to Kagaru leg of Inland Rail will allow double-stacked, 1.8 kilometre long trains, each equal to 110 B-Double trucks, to travel through the ranges west of Brisbane.

Finance Minister Mathias Cormann said that the Australian Government’s $9.3 billion commitment to Inland Rail is an investment in Australia’s stronger economic future.

“Inland Rail will provide long term economic returns for regional Australia and benefit our national economy by moving freight to markets more efficiently and at lower costs,” Senator Cormann said.

“Partnering with the private sector will allow ARTC to leverage private sector design and construction expertise in delivering this important infrastructure project.”

Federal Groom MP John McVeigh said the Inland Rail was the next big project for the Toowoomba community that will deliver a significant economic boost.

“Recent economic modelling released by the CSIRO has indicated transport cost savings of up to $94 per tonne can be achieved through the inland rail for horticulture and food processing freight,” Mr McVeigh said.

“This study shows some good potential transport cost savings and highlights why the Australian Government has invested in building the Inland Rail.

“I’d expect these transport cost reductions may be replicated throughout other sections of the Inland Rail and in my region those savings would mean more money in farmers’ pockets, to be re-invested in the local economy.”

Construction began on Inland Rail in December 2018 on the Parkes to Narromine leg of the project and direct with and indirect benefits already flowing back into the local community.

The construction contractor for this segment in New South Wales, INLink, was awarded a contract of over $300 million and is already spending across local Parkes businesses.

Responses to the EOI are due to ARTC in May 2019.

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