ALC in new push for Inland Rail before federal Budget

Kilgariff says a direct Melbourne-Brisbane rail connection will benefit the economy

ALC in new push for Inland Rail before federal Budget
Kilgariff says after decades of talk, it is time to build the Inland Rail.


Given the significance of the Inland Rail link, the federal government must make a significant commitment towards completing the project, the Australian Logistics Council (ALC) urges.

The logistics body says the proposed Melbourne to Brisbane Inland Rail could become the "backbone" of a better freight network.

The statement comes ahead of federal treasurer Scott Morrison’s Budget next week and amid some questioning by think tank the Grattan Institute about the cost-benefit outcome.

ALC MD Michael Kilgariff says building the Inland Rail will help tackle growing freight demand in the wake of Australia’s increasing population.

"Construction of the Inland Rail will be crucial in accommodating such rapid growth in freight demand, and will help in increasing rail’s share of the overall freight task and alleviating road congestion," Kilgariff says.

The statement is in line with Victorian Transport Association (VTA) chief Peter Anderson’s comment on how inadequate rail and road infrastructure is an impediment to freight productivity in the country.

"It’s important to remember that the Inland Rail project has a positive cost-benefit analysis, has been positively assessed by Infrastructure Australia (IA), the nation’s independent infrastructure umpire, as returning $2.60 for every $1.00 invested, and features on IA’s Priority List," Kilgariff says.

"Perhaps even more remarkably in today’s combative political climate, it is an infrastructure project that enjoys the support of both sides of federal politics."

ALC recommends the Inland Rail project to form a key part of the National Freight and Supply Chain Strategy.

Kilgariff says a direct rail link between Melbourne and Brisbane will also improve operations in New South Wales, with improved rail links to the ports of Newcastle, Botany and Kembla.

"Moreover, reducing freight transit times has significant flow-on benefits across the whole economy – not least of which will be support for Australia's free trade agreements and cheaper consumer prices for Australians, whether they live in city centres or the regions.

"By 2030, we will need to move more than 32 million tonnes of freight along Australia’s east coast.

"We must find ways to do that which are safe, and which don’t add to road congestion and other existing bottlenecks in the freight network.

"Inland Rail meets these goals – and provides a reliable rail transport option for the nation’s key export commodities in mining and freight.

"After decades of talk, it’s time to get on with the job and build the Inland Rail."

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