Expert technical and commercial support will be provided to a further 15 project proposals under the Australian Government’s Inland Rail Interface Improvement Program (II Program).
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Michael McCormack said the II Program was a great way for local government, industry and regional communities to enhance supply chain productivity in their areas and realise the potential of Inland Rail.
“Inland Rail is sparking activity right along the alignment as people and regions explore new ways to connect to the line, work on construction and supply the project with materials and services,” the Deputy Prime Minister said.
“It is the access and connection to Inland Rail’s fast, reliable and cost-competitive freight services that will drive further value from our infrastructure investment.
“I’m pleased to be supporting 15 proposals that seek to further build on these benefits, ranging from longer and better rail sidings in Back Creek New South Wales to enhanced local road connections to Inland Rail in Bromelton Queensland.
“The successful proponents will now receive specialist support from technical advisors appointed by the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications to build business cases and undertake studies that test the merits and feasibility of each proposal.”
Minister for Finance Simon Birmingham said the II Program was an important collaborative process that would see community and industry ideas considered to enhance the benefits of Inland Rail.
“Exploring ways to increase the efficiency and productivity of supply chains with local knowledge are key to developing a freight rail line with long term benefits suited to the unique regions along the route,” Minister Birmingham said.
“Inland Rail will connect Melbourne and Brisbane through regional Australia with the spine of a fast, reliable and efficient freight network, backed by local innovation to deliver the best outcomes.
“The Australian Government is committed to maximising this project with Inland Rail expected to deliver a boost of more than $18 billion to Gross Domestic Product during construction and in its first 50 years of operation.”
Minister for Regional Health, Regional Communications and Local Government Mark Coulton said that the projects being investigated through the II Program have the potential to increase capability in the national freight network and deliver significant local benefits.
“We have reached out to the regions to hear their ideas because we want to ensure that the interfaces, the sidings, the loops, the connecting tracks, the silos and handling facilities, are improved and better connected,” Minister Coulton said.
“Connectivity is at the heart of this government’s commitment to Inland Rail because the regions are our lifeblood for resources and agricultural production.”
Through the II Program, proponents will be supported to assess the costs and benefits of their proposals in line with gateway processes that are modelled on best practice for developing and assessing infrastructure investment ideas.
The Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications has appointed EY to provide the business case and technical support to proponents found eligible in this second round.
Twenty project proposals from Round One are receiving expert support through the II Program and a further 15 project proposals so far were found eligible in Round Two.
The II Program does not provide or guarantee funding for projects; however, it enables local ideas to be developed for further investment consideration.