INLAND RAIL: Vital first step announced in Toowoomba
AN IMPORTANT first step in the delivery of the most complex section of the Inland Rail alignment has been made, with the announcement of the Public Private Partnership Registrations of Interest for the Gowrie to Kagaru section.
The Gowrie to Kagaru segment of the 1700km Brisbane to Melbourne Inland Rail route includes about 8.9km of major tunnelling through the Toowoomba, Teviot and Little Liverpool ranges in Queensland, which requires detailed strategic planning and investment.
The tunnel through the Toowoomba Range will result in the largest diameter diesel freight tunnel in the Southern Hemisphere.
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Michael McCormack said the PPP will allow the Australian Rail Track Corporation, the Federal Government and the private sector to work together to develop an innovative engineering solution to design and build the technically complex rail track.
"Forming a partnership with the private sector will see doubled-stacked trains travel through the ranges west of Brisbane, improving freight industry productivity and potential shared commercial returns," Mr McCormack said.
"Inland Rail is a transformational freight rail line and is only possible with all levels of government and industry coming to the table and getting on board to deliver this once in generation project."
Minister for Finance and the Public Service Mathias Cormann said the ROI announcement is the first stage of engaging industry to be followed by an Expression of Interest and ultimately the nomination of a preferred bidder.
"The ROI process demonstrates the significant progress this Government is making towards delivering Inland Rail," Mr Cormann said.
"In Queensland alone Inland Rail will boost the Gross State Product by $7 billion.
"This will create over 7000 direct and indirect jobs over the period of construction and the first 50 years of operation.
"That means more jobs, more opportunity and more capital investment in the State."
Federal Member for Wright and Assistant Minister for Roads and Transport, Scott Buchholz said that the market sounding process for companies to build the Inland Rail would run concurrently with the ongoing technical and environmental approvals process.
"Inland Rail will be a critical part of the national freight network of the future, and its long-term benefits will be realised if our region works together with the Federal Government and ARTC," he said.
"The environmental planning process is ongoing and I encourage people to engage with the ARTC and with their local community consultative committees to ensure Inland Rail is delivered in ways that maximise the outcomes and minimise the impacts to my local communities."
The Gowrie to Kagaru segment of the Inland Rail represents over $3.5 billion of investment and more than 5,200 direct and indirect jobs.
Federal Member for Groom Dr John McVeigh said he was delighted by the opportunity Inland Rail will present to Queensland.
"The Australian Government recognises Queensland stands to gain a great deal from Inland Rail. This project will deliver positive social, environmental and economic outcomes for landowners and the community," Dr McVeigh said.
"That is why the Australian Government is committed to going above and beyond to deliver Inland Rail and ensure that Queenslanders, along with New South Wales and Victoria can take advantage of the employment and economic opportunities of Inland Rail.
"I look forward to the Queensland Government finalising the bilateral agreement so that Queenslanders can enjoy these benefits."
More information about the Inland Rail project is available online.