Regional communities across Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland will benefit from the boost of up to $13.3 billion in Gross Regional Product over the next 50 years off the back of Inland Rail’s construction according to a new report released by the Australian Government.
The in-depth study by EY (formerly Ernst & Young) demonstrates the potential for complementary industry investment alongside the rail line to generate billions in added value for regional communities over the first 50 years of operation.
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Michael McCormack welcomed the report as further proof of Inland Rail’s long-term contribution to the growth of regional Australia.
“Inland Rail is an investment that we know has enormous payback for regional Australia 10, 30 and 50 years down the track,” Mr McCormack said.
“Inland Rail is going to draw industry to regional Australia where the enhanced freight rail network will connect companies and consumers both domestically and internationally.
“This new EY report identifies the benefit to Gross Regional Product along the alignment could be up to $13.3 billion over the next 50 years. That is massive for regional Australia and builds on the 16,000 jobs and $16 billion economic boost generated during construction and operation.
“What the EY report is assessing is the additional benefit to communities from the opportunities that arise for local businesses and people from the completion of Inland Rail. For example, it might be a cereal manufacturer whose freight costs drop by 30% allowing the employment of additional staff, or it might be the expansion of regional processing that takes advantage of Inland Rail’s lower coat and greater capacity and connectivity.
“These investments could support an additional 14,000-16,000 job years in its first decade of operation – that’s 1,600 people working full time for 10 years thanks to Inland Rail.
“With Inland Rail, our regional communities are primed to take advantage of the manufacturing, packing facilities, meat processing plants, regional airports and distribution centres that will establish and expand around the rail line.
“The benefits of this project are going to be felt across generations. Right now, young people from regional areas are directly benefiting from working on Inland Rail’s construction including the 656 locals who have worked on the project in the Parkes region and the more than $75 million spent with local businesses.
“The EY report shows their children and grandchildren will also have opportunities in the new and expanding industries gathering to take advantage of the rail line.
“To each community, these investments are about more than numbers. Inland Rail gives us hope of retaining young people with jobs in their backyard, attracting new contributors to local economies and protecting the community services our regions need to thrive.
“Our regional communities have persevered through a decade’s long drought, while others are starting the long road to recovery in the wake of devastating bushfires and floods.
“Inland Rail gives these communities new ways to grow and rebuild with better connections to interstate and international markets, new jobs and a stronger case for attracting public and private investment,” Mr McCormack said.
Finance Minister Mathias Cormann said the report was further demonstration of the significant economic contribution Inland Rail would make across regional Australia.
“This work again shows how Inland Rail is helping drive increased investment, growth and more jobs across regional Australia now and well into the future,” Minister Cormann said.
“Inland Rail is not only a major freight line which massively expands our trading infrastructure. It will also continue to generate significant investment opportunities across the many regional communities it touches.
“From the Parkes logistics hub to Narrabri’s plans for an inland port and industrial precincts in Toowoomba and Wodonga, the first wave of developments are taking shape. We are very confident that many other regional towns in and around the Inland Rail corridor will secure further significant investment, development and job creation opportunities for their towns on the back of this exciting project.”
The EY report highlights a range of investment opportunities alongside Inland Rail that will sustain regional communities for the long term.
The report considers a range of industry and community input, as well as data gathered by EY over the course of the study.
Read the full EY Inland Rail Regional Opportunities report online at www.InlandRail.gov.au.