The impressive figures formed some of the highlights from the second annual Sustainability Report for Inland Rail, which measures the project against environmental, social and economic targets.
ARTC Inland Rail Chief Executive Officer Richard Wankmuller said sustainability was critical for the delivery of Inland Rail, from planning through to construction.
“Inland Rail is Australia’s largest freight rail infrastructure project and is being built in some of the most complex environments in the country,” Mr Wankmuller said. “We are committed to leading by example in sustainable design, construction and operation,” he said.
“On the recently commissioned Parkes to Narromine section we learned valuable lessons about how we can better work with our delivery partners. We are now making sustainable long-term changes as Inland Rail wants to establish a new sustainability benchmark for the rail industry more widely.
“We’re seeing some great results including an industry-first of 22,625 carbon neutral culverts being installed, the re-use of materials such as 297,000m3 recycled or reclaimed ballast and ash, 46,716 timber sleepers and 98% of existing steel rail track recovered and redeployed to other rail projects.
“Our project is being built for climate change resilience, reducing new material use and maximising the use of existing materials. We are committed to using non-potable and low-quality water wherever possible during construction and minimising water use through planning and innovation. Going forward we will require our suppliers to demonstrate their environmental and sustainability credentials through sustainability metrics during tender evaluation, which is a signal to industry that we are serious about achieving cost-effective sustainability.”
Inland Rail Parkes to Narromine delivery partner INLinkJV (Fulton Hogan and BMD Constructions JV) worked alongside ARTC to deliver sustainability practices.
INLink JV Project Director Gerard O’Connor said sustainability was at the forefront from the very beginning, with a sustainability workshop taking place before their site office even had electricity.
“We have prioritised integrating sustainability concepts through awareness, training and teamwork and are proud of the solutions we delivered as a team, both internally and with ARTC,” said Mr O’Connor.
“We are particularly proud of our social performance – we used local subcontractors, employed locally, and worked closely with Wiradjuri elders to ensure indigenous youths had the opportunity to participate in our Trainee and Apprenticeship Program.”
“We became involved in the community, running school engagement sessions, sponsoring the NSW Police Active Citizen Program for ten indigenous teens to undertake leadership training and partnered with STEM Industry School Partnership Program,” he said.
Mr Wankmuller said that landowners along the alignment were also supportive of sustainability initiatives.
“It’s not just our delivery partners who are supportive of our sustainability initiatives either, more than a hundred landholders expressed interest in becoming strategic biodiversity offset sites. We are very pleased with this community support and aspirations for the long term good.
Mr Wankmuller said that Inland Rail also has targets to protect biodiversity and enhance local environment and heritage.
“Inland Rail cultural heritage surveys have discovered numerous artefacts, scar trees and sites of significance to Indigenous groups, so we established a ‘care and control’ process for the ongoing protection of these artefacts.
“Establishing a sustainability culture empowers team members to make good decisions and highlights the positive impact that these decisions can have on communities, the environment, the wider supply chain and industry.