Saturday 17th Aug, 2019

Inland Rail study extended

A national study on the effectiveness of the Inland rail project has been expanded to examine the southern corridor between Narromine and Seymour.

In March 2019, a Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) pilot study determined cost-savings of an average $76 per tonne for horticulture and post-processed food transported on Inland Rail.

Significant transport savings could be on the way for farmers and manufacturers who shift their products to the Inland Rail, according to Infrastructure Minister Michael McCormack.

“In order for Inland Rail to deliver its full benefits, industry and community need to be able to identify and plan for its roll-out,” McCormack said.

“That is why we are bringing them to the table early, ensuring we have identified the supply chains — grains, cotton, minerals, meat products, wine and bio-oil among others— that will likely be the biggest beneficiaries of Inland Rail.”

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The first phase of the study between Narromine and Seymour will be followed by a second phase to be rolled out between Narromine and Toowoomba in July 2020.

“The cost-savings announced in the pilot will be an incredible boost for regional Australia —an average saving of $70 million a year for those commodities alone,” McCormack said.

“90 per cent of fresh produce sold in our supermarkets is produced here in Australia. The cost-savings for farmers — between paddock and port — will be a significant competitive advantage when accessing new domestic and international markets.”

Finance Minister Mathias Cormann said he was pleased to see that the first phase of the CSIRO study on Inland Rail was underway.

“This study will help give industry confidence to invest in our regions and make our economy stronger and more resilient,” Cormann said.

“Inland Rail is an important part of our pro-growth agenda. We want our producers to be internationally competitive — ensuring we have cost-competitive freight options is a very important part of that.”