Australia’s railway sector has welcomed the federal government’s $8.4 billion commitment to delivering the proposed Inland Rail project.
The new project, which has been on the drawing board for decades, was announced with a major investment in last week’s 2017-18 Budget, under the pretence that it will boost employment and drive an economic resurgence to the regions.
Under the plan, the government has promised that construction will begin on the Parkes to Narromine sector later in the next financial year.
Also, the government estimates that 16,000 jobs will be created at peak construction, with the project set to return $480 million to the central and North West NSW economy.
For some background, the Inland Rail is a proposed transport infrastructure project to build a 1,700km corridor between Melbourne and Brisbane that’s expected to unclog main roads from traffic consisting of freight trucks.
Federal Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Darren Chester said the once-in-a-generation Melbourne to Brisbane Inland Rail project would connect regional communities with domestic and global markets, safeguarding the nation’s prosperity.
“The Melbourne to Brisbane Inland Rail is the infrastructure project we need to secure Australia’s freight future, delivering the transport network required to serve the freight market for the next century,” Mr Chester said.
“Our freight task will double by 2050 and we need to take action now to meet demand. Inland Rail will reduce congestion on our roads; each interstate train on Inland Rail can carry freight that would require the equivalent of 110 B-double trucks.
“This is a major investment in Australia’s economic future. It will create 16,000 jobs at peak of construction, boost Australia’s GDP by $16 billion, and provide an important link to domestic and global markets.”
The ARA’s chief executive officer Danny Broad applauded the government’s commitment to Inland Rail through its $8.4 billion equity injection to the Australian Rail Track Corporation.
“Inland rail is fundamental to boosting rail freight efficiency in Australia, and given Australia’s freight task will grow 26% by 2026, its delivery is important to all Australians,” Mr Broad said.
He said linking Victoria and regional NSW with Queensland will help get freight off the road and onto rail, address rising congestion in Sydney, and will deliver thousands of jobs; many in regional Australia.
“This project will deliver a strong economic contribution to the nation and will enhance productivity and increase consumer freight options,” Mr Broad said.
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