7 October 2022
REVIEW RISKS DELAYS ON INLAND RAIL
The Albanese Labor Government’s announcement of a wholesale review into the $14.5 billion Inland Rail project raises concerns about Labor’s commitment to this vital nation-building project.
The scope of the review announced today by the Government is too broad and will include a re-examination of the route, scope, schedule, and costs, according to today’s announcement.
The review, which will be headed by Dr Kerry Schott AM, will also reassess options for intermodal terminals in both Melbourne and Brisbane.
“We proudly stand on our record on the Inland Rail, which has made significant progress to date and will be transformative for our regional Australia,” Shadow Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Bridget McKenzie said.
“Sections of the route will shortly be transporting wheat from Moree to the Port of Newcastle – we need to keep pushing ahead with the project, not slow it up.
“The last thing we need is further uncertainty being created by what is a politically inspired review.
“Our immediate concerns are for landholders who are in negotiations, and who are entering into contracts about access agreements based on agreed existing routes.
“This review risks reigniting community uncertainty and angst about routes which had been settled.”
The Inland Rail connecting the Port of Melbourne to the Port of Brisbane is one of the most important pieces of infrastructure in Australia, Senator McKenzie said.
It is expected to support 21,500 jobs at the peak of construction and deliver an $18 billion boost to Gross Regional Product during construction and the first 50 years of operation.
“This review risks slowing the project, pushing out timelines, and introducing new impediments to the project which is essential for freight connectivity and access to imports and export markets for Australian businesses and industry. And any delay will drive up costs.
Senator McKenzie said the Albanese Government should commit to an extension of the Inland Rail from Toowoomba to the Port of Gladstone.