Inland Rail CEO Richard Wankmuller said detailed investigations undertaken by the Inland Rail team over the last five years has identified that additional investment was needed to meet community and customer expectations of the 1700km, fast freight project between Melbourne and Brisbane.
“The Australian Government will invest up to $14.5 billion in equity in ARTC to ensure that Inland Rail will deliver more jobs, more significant benefits and a bigger boost to Australia’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
“Inland Rail is now estimated to create 21,500 jobs at peak construction. The project will generate an economic boost of more than $18 billion to the economy during construction and over the first 50 years of operations over and above the cost of delivery,” Mr Wankmuller said.
“Inland Rail is one of the largest infrastructure programs undertaken in Australia and I have said from the outset that we want to get it right in terms of consultation, design and outcomes for the community and our rail customers.”
“Inland Rail is a project that is being built by Australians for Australians. This further investment will enable us to deliver the project to its fullest potential,” he said.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has reminded Australians of the importance of a secure and efficient freight supply chain. While the economic recovery and freight supply resilience will be strengthened through the delivery of Inland Rail, work on this project will also generate thousands of jobs and billions of dollars in local investment, boosting regional economies and communities right along the alignment.”
The investment will deliver a stronger Inland Rail, with the design now including more than 4,500 additional culverts, nine additional viaducts, an additional 6.8 kilometres of bridges, 10 extra grade separations and approximately 450 kilometres of additional fencing.
Mr Wankmuller said Inland Rail was continuing to build momentum across the nation.
“In the last few months of 2020 we have commissioned the first Inland Rail section between Parkes and Narromine and broken ground on the next section between Narrabri and North Star,” he said.
“We are working with communities right along the alignment to get them ‘Inland Rail Ready’ and this latest funding announcement should bring them even more certainty that we will deliver.”
Mr Wankmuller said Inland Rail will provide a reliable and efficient rail network to meet our increasing freight needs and take the load off our already congested roads.
“ARTC is delivering a safer, world-class Inland Rail that will future-proof Australia’s freight network for generations to come”, he said.
“Creating a second link between Queensland and the southern states will make Australia’s national freight rail network more resilient and able to withstand disruptions, including extreme weather events. The Inland Rail route is 200km shorter than the existing coastal Melbourne to Brisbane track. 2020 has reinforced to all Australians the need for reliable, resilient freight routes to make sure the shelves are stocked with the goods they need.
“This world-class freight rail line from Melbourne to Brisbane will be the ‘spine’ of the national freight network, enabling travel between Melbourne and Brisbane in less than 24 hours, while connecting major ports and all mainland state capitals. It will also act as a catalyst for growth in our regional centres which are already fielding interest from major companies wanting to capitalise on their proximity to Inland Rail as well as their existing attributes such as low cost land, a guaranteed, stable workforce and lifestyle.
“ARTC is proud to be delivering this project for the Australian Government”.