Inland Rail will be backbone infrastructure says FORG

National rail association underlines message after crucial agreement

Inland Rail will be backbone infrastructure says FORG
Inland Rail construction underway


Rail freight operators and infrastructure owners have reinforced the need to increase momentum of Inland Rail project delivery.

Freight On Rail Group (FORG) have reaffirmed support for the enormous undertaking, saying it will be backbone freight and supply chain infrastructure for Australia that enables future economic development and jobs while also delivering environmental and safety benefits.

This most recent public backing comes as the federal government announced that agreements had been reached to progress detailed designs and civil works construction planning on key sections.

The Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC) announced a ‘collaborative framework agreement’ with Freight Connect, a consortium led by Laing O’Rourke and including FKG Group, to focus on an 85km section between North Star in New South Wales and Whetstone in Queensland as well as a separate 14km package south of Moree called Narrabri to North Star Phase 2.

The detailed design and planning works are for the 306km greenfield section between Narromine and Narrabri, and some 100km of civil works between Narrabri, North Star and Whetstone.

ARTC Inland Rail interim chief executive Rebecca Pickering pointed to opportunities for construction support services, including transport, but noted state and federal environmental planning green lights were also needed.

"Major construction will not start until statutory approvals have been received from the New South Wales, Queensland and Australian governments, but the appointment of a preferred proponent now tells local businesses to get ‘Inland Rail ready’ and start talking with Freight Connect about what the future looks like," Pickering said.

She noted Freight Connect would soon be seeking partnerships with businesses and skilled operators that can support project delivery such as transport operators, fencing, quarries, earthworks and electrical companies saying "this appointment at this time also allows them to maximise local jobs and procurement".


Read FORG’s critique of government rail policy work in the past, here

FORG Australia chair and Aurizon MD and CEO Andrew Harding highlighted other opportunities.

"Lifting rail freight productivity will provide greater value and choice for freight customers and contribute to achieving a shift in freight from road to rail along the Inland Rail route, and on freight corridors that will link to Inland Rail."

FORG members include Pacific National, ARTC, One Rail Australia, Aurizon, Qube Holdings, SCT Logistics, Arc Infrastructure, Watco Australia and Southern Shorthaul Railroad.


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