Inland Rail Implementation Group Communique, 7 March 2014
The Inland Rail Implementation Group established by the Deputy Prime Minister, the Hon Warren Truss MP, to progress Inland Rail, met on Friday 7 March 2014. Chaired by former Deputy Prime Minister, the Hon John Anderson AO, the delegates representing the Australian, NSW, Queensland and Victorian Governments and the Australian Rail Track Corporation participated in constructive dialogue to enable commencement of the project.
The Group is strongly of the view that the time has come to commence the Inland Rail project with the increasing freight task, the need to lift national economic efficiency through improved infrastructure and the emerging opportunities for further economic development along the route.
The Inland Rail Implementation Group notes that significant work has already been undertaken in support of Inland Rail. Over the last 10 years, a range of significant improvements to the national rail network have occurred, including track upgrades in New South Wales and Victoria that will form part of the inland rail route, planning for intermodal terminals, as well as rail connections such as the Southern Sydney Freight Line that will help link Inland Rail through to the Port Botany precinct.
The Implementation Group acknowledges this work as well as the $12m scoping and feasibility study funded by the Australian Government in 2010 that underpins the route. The Implementation Group also acknowledges the range of individuals and groups over the years that have developed the concept of Inland Rail, as well as more recent work by the Port of Brisbane Pty Ltd on the connection through to the Port.
The Implementation Group is now moving to deliver the project based on the work previously undertaken.
The Inland Rail Implementation Group understands that its' task is to take forward recommendations to Government on Inland Rail, using the preferred alignment. This alignment will optimise the route through balancing demand, cost, operational options and financial viability.
The Implementation Group is aware of the strong community and stakeholder interest in this project and therefore will welcome over the next 3 months (to June 2014) submissions around delivering inland rail. Arrangements for submissions will be published at www.infrastructure.gov.au/rail/inland/
The Inland Rail Implementation Group agreed to recommend prioritising sections between Rosewood and Kagaru (Queensland), Narrabri to North Star (NSW) and Parkes to Narromine (NSW) as the initial stages for preconstruction, early start works and track upgrades. These sections have the ability to immediately provide benefits to the existing rail network, generate early economic benefit and return, and are essential elements for the Inland Rail link.
Recognising that there is enormous stored knowledge, particularly in the logistics industry as well as within those local government and regional areas that the Implementation Group would like to capture, the Implementation Group will be formalising a stakeholder reference group.
The Implementation Group will traverse the length of the route to consult with local stakeholders on the delivery plan starting in the next few months.