The Federal and State Governments have signed a ground-breaking agreement to deliver the Queensland portion of the Inland Rail.
Queensland Transport Minister Mark Bailey said that the agreement cemented protections for Queenslanders and would see close to $2 billion in joint-funding fast-tracked for road and rail projects across the state.
“This deal will see us work with the Federal Government on business cases for passenger rail services from Salisbury to Beaudesert, Brisbane to Toowoomba and a dedicated rail freight line to the Port of Brisbane,” he said.
“This includes better understanding the expected freight demand on the line into the future and identifying opportunities for intermodal terminals at Ebenezer and Bromelton to assist in managing the freight task.”
Federal Finance Minister Mathias Cormann said the signing of this Bilateral Agreement was a crucial step towards delivering a more efficient freight network for the future, underpinning our national economic growth and international competitiveness.
“Long-haul rail is cheaper, safer and more reliable than moving freight by road over those distances. That is why the Australian Government has committed up to $9.3 billion to complete the national rail network through Inland Rail,” he said.
“The shift from road to rail is crucial to ensuring our freight network meets the needs of our growing population.
“It is great to have the Queensland Government on board now supporting our Inland Rail project. This project will improve the national freight rail network by connecting communities, creating jobs, reducing supply chain costs and making Australian business more competitive.”
The Australian Logistics Council (ALC) has welcomed the deal, saying it paved the way for work on the Queensland section of Inland Rail to begin in earnest.
“Australia’s national freight task is set to increase significantly in coming years, with volumes in Queensland estimated to grow 20 per cent in the next 10 years alone. This means we must find new ways to keep freight moving, efficiently and safely,” ALC chief executive officer Kirk Coningham said.
“Inland Rail will help achieve this by providing for a transit time of 24 hours or less for freight trains between Melbourne and Brisbane via regional Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland. This will boost Australia’s international competitiveness by allowing our exporters to compete more effectively on the global stage.
“ALC is especially pleased that the agreement signed today includes additional funding to develop a business case for a dedicated freight rail connection from Acacia Ridge to the Port of Brisbane.”
Mr Coningham said the Inland Rail was expected to boost Queensland’s Gross State Product by $7.3 billion and create an estimated 7200 jobs in the state during the peak of the project’s construction phase.