Phase two of market testing for private sector involvement in Inland Rail is set to begin in late January and early February 2017.
Inland Rail will run for 1700km from Melbourne to Brisbane and is expected to enhance Australia’s existing rail network and serve the interstate freight market.
Australian Logistics Council (ALC) Managing Director, Michael Kilgariff, welcomed the announcement.
“Inland rail is critical to improving the efficient movement of freight in Australia, and so I welcome the announcement that the next phase of market testing will be held [in 2017],” Mr Kilgariff said.
“Private sector involvement in the delivery of Inland Rail will be critical to progress this nationally significant infrastructure project.”
Mr Kilgariff said ALC has highlighted Inland Rail as a priority infrastructure project requiring further government investment in the 2017-2018 budget.
“ALC’s 2017-2018 budget submission encourages the government to commit to funding for construction to allow industry to plan for when operations commence,” Mr Kilgariff said.
“Further government support for the 1700km link between Brisbane and Melbourne is essential to ensure this project comes to fruition, and in so doing, to complete the spine of the national freight rail network.
“Infrastructure Australia’s Infrastructure Priority List identifies Inland Rail as a priority project, noting the long-term benefits to potential users of the project, users of alternative infrastructure, and the broader economy.
“This underscores why investment in economically significant projects, such as Inland Rail, should be preferred to other more speculative projects such as High Speed Rail, for which the net public benefit to the Australian economy is far less established.”
Mr Kilgariff said the ALC 2016 election priorities document Getting the Supply Chain Right and video Now is the time To Get the Supply Chain Right highlights the critical role the Inland Rail project will play in the future to support more efficient freight movement.
“To maximise its effectiveness, the inland rail route must have end to end connectivity and include efficient linkages to key freight hubs and intermodal terminals, such as InterLinkSQ – a master-planned logistics, warehousing and industrial estate located 13km west of Toowoomba,” Mr Kilgariff said.