Inland Rail agreement with NSW paves way for construction
NSW has signed a bilateral agreement with the Commonwealth for the Inland Rail, paving the way for the Australian Rail Track Corporation to begin works on the $10 billion freight project.
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure Michael McCormack and NSW Deputy Premier John Barilaro signed the agreement today in Parkes.
NSW is the second state to sign on. Victoria made the same commitment in March.
“Inland Rail will be a corridor of commerce for communities along the eastern seaboard and today’s agreement in Parkes is another vital step in making its vision a reality,” Mr McCormack said.
Minister for Finance Mathias Cormann said the agreement provides certainty for the project overall and includes a commitment to negotiate a new long-term lease with the ARTC and protect the rail corridor.
“While construction for the Parkes to Narromine section will commence in the coming months, the agreement provides the guiding principles for the delivery of new sections of Inland Rail, including the 307km corridor of new rail between Narromine and Narrabri,” Mr Cormann said.
Transport industry representative Freight On Rail Group chairman Dean Dalla Valle welcomed the announcement, which he said delivered critical rail infrastructure “at a time when we need to lift the productive capacity of our nation to remain competitive in global markets”.
Mr Dalla Valle called on the government to support the roll-out of advanced train control technology on the Inland Rail to help “sweat the infrastructure” for maximum efficiency.
The project will create a direct rail freight connection between Melbourne and Brisbane capable of moving double-stacked freight containers.
Once operational, Inland Rail will attract more freight to rail, diverting traffic from the Newell, Hume and Pacific Highways, and in turn, freeing up space in the Sydney Metro area for more passenger services.
Infrastructure Australia, along with many NSW councils, has for decades listed Inland Rail as a ‘priority’ project.
More information about the Inland Rail project is available at https://infrastructure.gov.au/rail/inland.