Industry leaders are now actively assessing their capacity to deliver the Australian Government’s iconic Inland Rail freight project – connecting Brisbane to Melbourne via regional south east Queensland, inland New South Wales and rural Victoria.
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development Warren Truss said over 400 representatives from Australian and international construction and rail companies, consultants and suppliers recently attended briefings in Sydney and Brisbane.
“Those experts now have the opportunity to consider what innovations, specific skills and experience they can bring to the project,” Mr Truss said.
“Through these briefings, industry now has greater insight into the intent, challenges and performance specifications expected from the Inland Rail project – such as the kind of axle loads, transit times, speeds and size of the trains, which will dictate the standards Inland Rail will be built to.
“They also have a better understanding of the priority elements and indicative timeframes being worked to, so industry can start their planning accordingly.”
Mr Truss said the Australian Government has committed $300 million to enable Inland Rail deliver pre-construction activities such as detailed corridor planning, environmental assessments, community consultation, and commencing land acquisition.
“When complete, this project will connect key regional centres and rural producers to our major ports, capitals and distribution hubs via Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland,” Mr Truss said.
“The new freight link is expected to offer a competitive service to road freight as transit times between the capital cities will be under 24 hours.
“By making the Inland Rail a priority now, we are putting in place an alternative freight route that will be able to meet the future demands of moving freight along the east coast.”
The Australian Rail Track Corporation Chief Executive Officer John Fullerton said freight volumes between Brisbane and Melbourne are forecast to triple by 2050, based on 2010 figures.
“By engaging with industry early, we can maximise the efficiency of Inland Rail Programme delivery and the significant economic opportunities for all concerned,” Mr Fullerton said.
Consultation with industry will continue until the end of the year, with services briefs for planning approvals, reference design, geotechnical and survey designs, as well as environmental impact assessments, expected in the first half of 2015.
Businesses wishing to find out more about the Inland Rail Programme Industry Briefings can email: firstname.lastname@example.org.