The Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC) has launched a new procurement and packaging plan to the industry for the Inland Rail project.

ARTC has adopted a model that allows activation of the procurement process earlier and shorter procurement periods in a more collaborative industry environment.

Inland Rail is also seeking Registrations of Interest (ROI) from suitably qualified and experienced contractors to deliver rail works as part of the new procurement package.

ARTC Inland Rail CEO, Richard Wankmuller, said that the new plan is in line with the Australian Government’s commitment to fast-track investment in critical infrastructure projects and is in response to industry feedback.

“Industry has clearly sent a message that Inland Rail needs to work more closely with project proponents to accelerate project tenders, maximise opportunities to participate and de-risk procurement processes,” Mr Wankmuller said. 

“Doing so will deliver the greatest benefit for government, industry and small and medium regional businesses.

“By investing now and getting tenders out faster, this mega-project is offering tender packages ideally suited to a range of suppliers and contractors, big and small.”

Mr Wankmuller said that the Inland Rail project has already delivered more than $1 billion worth of contracts across Australia and the plan is focused on delivering sustainable employment to regional areas.

“Inland Rail is also being predominantly delivered – 90 per cent – in regional Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland away from the overheated metropolitan infrastructure markets meaning there is greater opportunity for regional Australia to reap the rewards,” Mr Wankmuller said.

“We are incredibly mindful of how sizable investment can reshape regional economies in a short period of time and our focus is on ensuring that benefits to communities are delivered in a sustainable way that enhances, not compromises, the strategic advantages they have.

“Inland Rail is building momentum with the first Parkes to Narromine section generating more than 1,800 jobs and more than $109 million in local spend. Broad participation in our upcoming tenders will reinforce industry’s confidence in Inland Rail delivery.”

Chief Executive of the Australian Contractors Association, Jon Davies, welcomed the change in approach, saying that COVID-19 is driving a more agile approach to infrastructure delivery.

“It has never been more important for industry and clients to work together collaboratively in order to efficiently deliver projects and leverage their social and economic benefits”, Mr Davies said.

“We welcome ARTC’s new approach to procurement and our members look forward to working with ARTC and the Inland Rail team as these new opportunities arise in coming months”

Inland Rail is a 1,700km fast freight backbone between Melbourne and Brisbane that will transform how we move goods around Australia. 

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development, Michael McCormack, welcomed the procurement initiatives implemented by the ARTC to fast-track stimulus and encourage industry collaboration.

“Inland Rail’s construction is providing a boost for local businesses and communities at a time it’s most needed,” Mr McCormack.

“By dividing this nation-building project into smaller parts, more local businesses can bid for this valuable work, contributing to Australia’s future.

“Almost $110 million was spent locally with 99 businesses engaged as supply and service providers during the construction of the first section of Inland Rail between Parkes and Narromine.

“Indigenous communities also played a role in the construction of Parkes to Narromine, with nine Indigenous-owned businesses receiving $14.1 million for their work on the project and more than 300 Indigenous people employed.”

Federal Finance Minister, Mathias Cormann, said the new, streamlined procurement process for Inland Rail would significantly boost the opportunities for businesses to participate in the delivery of this crucial piece of freight infrastructure.

“Inland Rail connecting Melbourne to Brisbane will deliver significant freight and supply chain efficiencies for our national trading economy,” Mr Cormann said.

“Our government is committed to supporting strong and vibrant local economies along its route through the creation of local jobs, economic diversification and regional growth.”

Federal Minister for Regional Health, Regional Communications and Local Government and Federal Member for Parkes, Mark Coulton, said regional Australia had benefited greatly from the construction of the Parkes to Narromine section.

“The contracts delivering Inland Rail have put money in the pockets of businesses, paying salaries and employing local people during what has been a challenging time for many rural workers and businesses,” Mr Coulton said.

“Construction of the Parkes to Narromine section demonstrated the wide reaching value that can be generated nationwide from Inland Rail, with contracts for the supply of steel manufactured in Whyalla, ballast and capping sourced locally in Parkes and rail clips from Blacktown.”

With a freight transit time of less than 24 hours, Inland Rail will better link businesses, manufacturers and producers to national and global markets and generate new opportunities for industries and regions.

Inland Rail has provided an industry briefing to communicate the market opportunities this plan will present for the following projects:

  • Albury to Illabo
  • Illabo to Stockinbingal
  • Stockinbingal to Parkes
  • Narromine to Narrabri
  • North Star to NSW/QLD Border
  • NSW/QLD Border to Gowrie
  • Kagaru to Acacia Ridge and Bromelton

As part of the new procurement package, Inland Rail is seeking suitably qualified and experienced contractors to deliver rail works.

To access these Registrations of Interest (ROI) documents, interested parties must be registered on the Tenderlink website and use the ID number INLAND-936705.

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