Moree Plains Shire Council Calls for a Commitment to the Inland Rail
The Deputy Chair of the Melbourne to Brisbane Inland Rail Alliance (MBIRA) Councillor Sue Price said today that she welcomed former Deputy Prime Minister John Anderson's comments urging the Federal Government to make a decision regarding the Melbourne to Brisbane Inland Rail project (Inland Rail).
Mr Anderson who is the chair of the Inland Rail Implementation Group was quoted as requesting the Federal Government to allocate more than $1 billion in funding for the Inland Rail.
Cr Price went onto say, "Last year the Inland Rail Implementation Group handed to the Federal Government a comprehensive Business Case for the Inland Rail which is currently being assessed by Infrastructure Australia. The Business Case indicated a positive cost benefit analysis and stated that 16,000 direct jobs will be created during the 10 year construction period, with a further 600 jobs to be created upon operation. However, MBIRA feels that the flow-on effect in regional communities will be even greater".
"The Business Case indicated that the Inland Rail will enable farmers to move agricultural products more efficiently for domestic use and for export, as it will pass through some of Australia's most productive farming country. The Business Case also recognises further benefits to supply chain efficiencies for commercial freight and benefits to consumers and to regional areas. Not to mention the benefits of helping reduce that number of freight trains travelling through the already crowded Sydney network, which will open up slots for passenger trains," added Cr Price.
Cr Price said she was pleased "that the Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce recently acknowledged that there would be money allocated to the project in the upcoming budget, although he did not state how much".
"However, even without the additional Federal Government commitment to funding, it is very positive to see that the Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC) over recent weeks has awarded more than $11 million in contracts to progress planning of the Inland Rail. Contracts include a range of critical technical field studies and environmental assessments across New South Wales, Queensland and Victoria", said Cr Price.
"The Inland Rail is a nation building project that has the ability to open up markets and increase efficiencies across the supply chain. I would urge the Government to commit to the project, so that stakeholders including transport and logistics companies, developers, manufactures, agricultural producers and especially regional communities can have certainty to plan for the future".
The MBIRA is an alliance of councils located on or adjacent to the Melbourne to Brisbane Inland Rail route. The purpose of the Alliance is to advocate current and future Australian, New South Wales, Queensland and Victorian Governments to commit to build the Inland Rail, to future-standards, sufficient to develop efficient national supply chains, a robust national economy drive and economic development for the regions along the line.