Moree Plains Shire Council Welcomes Inland Rail Budget Announcement
The Deputy Chair of the Melbourne to Brisbane Inland Rail Alliance (MBIRA) Cr Sue Price said today that she welcomed the Federal Government's commitment to the Inland Rail Project in the budget with the announcement of $594 million in equity for land acquisition for the corridor and further pre-construction works. This is in addition to the $300 million that the Federal Government has previously committed.
"I want to congratulate the Federal Government for their strong commitment to the Inland Rail, with the Treasurer last night committing the Government to the next step of realising an integrated Inland Rail connecting Melbourne to Brisbane.
"I would like to echo the Treasurer’s comments regarding the importance of the Inland Rail for agriculture. Aside from improving the nation's competitiveness, a highly efficient inland railway is a game changer for regional Australia and particularly agriculture. Efficient rail access opens a range of opportunities for the regions, and would increase competitiveness of agriculture and opening up our export markets to the world."
Cr Price went on to say "Over the last 10 years we have been lobbying the Government for a commitment to the Inland Rail to provide assurance for investment and last night, the Australian Government committed to build the Inland Rail project through the Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC) to provide a direct, high-performance freight rail corridor between Melbourne and Brisbane as well as creating a new freight corridor between Brisbane and Perth (via Parkes) - this is fabulous news!"
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 of a factor of 2.62
- A boost to the Australian economy of $16 billion
- 16,000 direct jobs will be created during the 10 year construction period, with a further 700 jobs will be created upon operation.
- Improved connections within the national freight network linking Victoria, NSW, Queensland, South Australia, Northern Territory and Western Australia.
- Inland Rail will enable farmers and miners to move their products more efficiently for domestic use and for export
- Reduction in the cost of moving freight between state capitals of $10 tonne
- Improved road safety
- Increased capacity of the Sydney network by reducing the number of freight trains travelling through the already crowded Sydney network and opening up slots for passenger trains.
"The Government has also given its strongest indication that the final delivery and funding of the Inland Rail will be determined by market testing; with $3.8 million allocated in next year's budget to examine opportunities to optimise private sector involvement in delivering and financing Inland Rail. This will open the door to the possibility of significant private sector involvement to finance the project which is valued at $10.7 billion."
Cr Price added that the Federal Government’s commitment provides private sector confidence that the Inland Rail is a certainty; therefore, allowing for strategic investments along the route.
"With interest rates at record lows, and the prediction that freight volumes will double over the next twenty years, the opening up of international markets and production in regionals areas set to grow significantly by 2031, now is the perfect time for investment in this nation building project", concluded Cr Price.
The MBIRA is an alliance of Council's 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.