Inland Rail: Victoria signs up to project

Victoria receives $1.7bn for rail upgrades as part of Inland Rail deal

Inland Rail: Victoria signs up to project
Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Michael McCormack, centre, with Victorian Minister for Public Transport and Major projects Jacinta Allan, right, and Nationals deputy leader Bridget McKenzie


Victoria's public transport and major projects minister, Jacinta Allan, has signed a bilateral agreement in relations to the Inland Rail project, making it the first state to do so.

The federalgovernment last year committed to building the $10 billion Inland Rail line capable of moving double stacked freight containers between Melbourne and Brisbane, but needs the support of the Victorian, Queensland and NSW governments to do so.

When completed, Inland Rail is expected to deliver almost $7 billion in additional state gross product through construction and in the first 50 years of operation.

The agreement, signed with deputy prime minister and minister for infrastructure and transport Michael McCormack, includes cash towards a promised $1.7 billion to upgrade every regional rail line in Victoria.

This includes $135 million to upgrade the North East railway that connects Melbourne to Albury – a line that is currently used both for passenger and freight services – to enable more modern trains to be run on the line.

Both governments committed to supporting the extension of the corridor to accommodate any changes to the North East Rail Line alignment that might be required to support the delivery of Inland Rail.

Allan thanks McCormack for acting quickly to release the funds, noting that planning and defining the scope of works has already begun on parts of the project.

McCormack says the project will create jobs and investment opportunities throughout regional Victoria, as well as improving freight travel times for local farmers and producers.

"Once complete, Inland Rail will create thousands of jobs nationwide and return $16 billion to the national economy during the delivery phase and the first 50 years of operation," he says.

The two governments also agreed to negotiate a new long term lease over the lines with the Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC), the body which is overseeing the project.

The ARTC put out a statement yesterday saying it was one month into a series of meetings with landowners living between Narromine and Narrabri in north west and central west NSW – with the corporation aiming to meet with 300 landowners in total.

Steel for building the first new section of the rail line between Parkes and Narromine was first delivered in January this year.


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