The Australasian Railway Association (ARA) welcomes the announcement in the 2016-2017 Budget that $594 million in additional equity will be allocated to the Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC) to acquire land to preserve the corridor for Inland Rail, continue pre-construction activities and undertake due diligence.
Preserving the rail corridor between Melbourne and Brisbane is a vital first step in this iconic infrastructure project and this funding is necessary.
“It is pleasing to see the Turnbull Government act on the report of the Inland Rail Implementation Group, chaired by former Nationals Leader, John Anderson, and the Business Case developed by ARTC, and commit to building the Inland Rail project.” said ARA Chief Executive Officer, Danny Broad.
“It is also great to see ARTC taking charge of this project and being kept in Government ownership at this stage. This is welcomed by the rail freight industry.
“Inland Rail was a key recommendation in the ARA’s 2016 election publication, 5 Platforms for Change. It is also in Infrastructure Australia’s 15 year strategic plan.
“Freight between Melbourne and Brisbane is set to double in a very short period of time and without rail the impact on our roads will be catastrophic,” said Danny Broad. “The project will provide certainty for business and the opportunity for the private sector to invest in complementary projects. It will make us more competitive and it will save our roads.
“The Budget was touted by the Treasurer as one for jobs and growth. Inland Rail will boost productivity and create job – up to 16,000 new jobs at the peak of construction – that will reap benefits immediately and well into the future.
“Inland Rail will reduce the distance between Melbourne and Brisbane by 200km, offering a less than 24 hour transit time between the two cities.
“Inland Rail will have far-reaching implications for the logistics, farming and resources sectors, as well as road and rail commuters. Delays in progressing towards a build will have a significant economic impact on Australia.
“We call on the Turnbull Government to ensure Inland Rail remains a priority for Australia,” said Danny Broad.
The Australasian Railway Association (ARA) is the peak body representing all passenger, freight, track operators and the wider rail supply industry in Australia, New Zealand and Indonesia.
Our fundamental purpose is to create an environment that will permit the Australasian rail industry to prosper. When issues arise that affect the whole industry, the ARA takes the lead facilitating an industry response.
The ARA is actively involved in the development of rail policy to ensure the industry's views are represented.
As well as shaping policy in the areas of passenger, freight, rail safety regulatory reform, the environment, technology and research, the ARA is also involved in programs aimed at improving the productivity, capacity and overall safety of the Australasian rail industry.
The Australasian Rail Industry's vision is that rail will become the transport mode of choice because of its economic, environmental and social advantages. In achieving this we aim to provide enhanced passenger services for our communities and have more trains carrying increased volumes of bulk freight and goods.