Friday 27th May, 2022

Inland Rail bilateral agreement signed

Photo: ARA

The Federal and Queensland Governments have taken the next step to deliver the Inland Rail project, signing a bilateral agreement.

The signing of the deal is a critical step to deliver the project, with deals already in place with New South Wales and Victoria.

Inland Rail aims to create a direct freight rail connection between Melbourne and Brisbane that can transport double stacked freight containers.

Deputy Prime Minister Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Minister Michael McCormack said the bilateral agreement would ensure Queensland’s future growth is supported by a robust freight rail network capable of servicing the long-term liveability and productivity of Queensland’s regions, towns and cities.

“The bilateral agreement signed today is backed by the Federal Government’s $9.3 billion commitment to deliver Inland Rail and is part of the broader $25 billion commitment we’ve made to road and rail projects across Queensland since coming to Government in 2013,” McCormack said.

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“Our government values the significance of this nation-building project for regional communities. More than 7,000 jobs and a $7 billion boost to Queensland’s economy will make a real difference to the people who live and work in this state.

“We are transforming the way freight is moved in Australia. For every dollar we are investing in Inland Rail, $2.62 will be returned to the national economy.”

Modelling undertaken by the CSIRO has found an average saving of $76 per tonne for horticultural and post-processed food when shifted onto double stacked trains.

The first section of the new track between Parkes and Narromine has also been completed, which involved more than $46 million in contracts committed to 84 local business employing almost 400 locals.

Finance Minister Mathias Cormann said the signing of the bilateral agreement was a crucial step towards delivering a more efficient freight network for the future.

“Long-haul rail is cheaper, safer and more reliable than moving freight by road over those distances. That is why the Australian Government has committed up to $9.3 billion to complete the national rail network through Inland Rail,” Cormann said.

“The shift from road to rail is crucial to ensuring our freight network meets the needs of our growing population.

“It is great to have the Queensland Government on board now supporting our Inland Rail project. This project will improve the national freight rail network by connecting communities, creating jobs, reducing supply chain costs and making Australian business more competitive.”

Queensland Transport and Main Roads Minister Mark Bailey said that the agreement reached with the Australian Government cements protections for Queenslanders and would see close to $2 billion in joint-funding fast-tracked for road and rail projects across the state.

“The delivery of Inland Rail in Queensland is a huge win for the state, providing jobs and opportunities to communities,” Bailey said.

“This deal will see us work with the Federal Government on business cases for passenger rail services from Salisbury to Beaudesert, Brisbane to Toowoomba and a dedicated rail freight line to the Port of Brisbane.

“This includes better understanding the expected freight demand on the line into the future and identifying opportunities for intermodal terminals at Ebenezer and Bromelton to assist in managing the freight task.”

The projects will support the Trade and Enterprise Spine initiative, which was identified under the South East Queensland City Deal Statement of intent.

An international panel to advise on the modelling of potential flood impacts was agreed to by all parties, with community consultation to be performed along Inland Rail’s route through Queensland.