The Australian Government realises the importance of rail infrastructure to the Australian people.
Australia faces significant challenges in meeting its infrastructure needs with the freight task set to double over the next 20 years, and treble along the eastern seaboard. The Australian Government is focusing its investment in rail on infrastructure that improves national productivity, and supports our freight task.
Melbourne – Brisbane Inland Railway
The Australian Government has committed to building a new key piece of national infrastructure by constructing an Inland Railway between Melbourne and Brisbane via central-west NSW and Toowoomba.
The Australian Government has committed $300 million to enable pre-construction for Inland Rail to commence. This includes detailed corridor planning, environmental assessments and community consultation. Delivery of Inland Rail is being guided by the development of a Service Specification that has been tested with major rail customers and by an updated Business Case.
Inland Rail is an investment in strategic infrastructure for the future, providing capacity to serve the east coast freight market for the next half century and beyond. Inland Rail will be an important contributor to national productivity by reducing train operating costs and improving service standards.
Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC)
With the agreement of mainland state governments, the Australian Government established ARTC in 1998 to manage and develop Australia's interstate track infrastructure as a single entity. This is achieved through ownership or long term leases of the interstate track. ARTC currently owns or leases interstate track from Kalgoorlie to Acacia Ridge in QLD.
ARTC is a public company whose shares are wholly owned by the Australian Government and operates the interstate freight rail track on a commercially sustainable basis. It is financed by a mix of fees charged to commercial operators to access the track that it maintains, revenue received from maintenance contracts, Australian Government equity, commercial borrowings and direct grants from the Australian Government.
Details of ARTC's current investment programme can be found on the ARTC website.
Moorebank Intermodal Freight Terminal
The Australian Government is facilitating the delivery of a major intermodal facility in south-west of Sydney to provide a rail ‘port shuttle’ between Port Botany and the Moorebank precinct, a separate terminal for interstate freight and warehousing. Successive Australian and NSW Governments have identified Moorebank as a key strategic location for increased intermodal capacity to serve freight logistics centres in Sydney’s south-west. The site is adjacent to the existing dedicated freight railway line, the M5 motorway and close to the M7 motorway.
On 5 December 2014, the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development, the Hon Warren Truss MP, and the Minister for Finance, Senator the Hon Mathias Cormann MP, announced that the Government is examining a proposal from the Moorebank Intermodal Company (MIC) and the Sydney Intermodal Terminal Alliance (SIMTA), a consortium comprising Qube Holdings and Aurizon, for the development of an intermodal freight terminal in south-west Sydney on adjoining Commonwealth and SIMTA land at Moorebank, NSW.
The Government recognises the private sector is best placed to design, construct and operate the intermodal terminal. MIC, a Government Business Enterprise, is charged with ensuring that the terminal satisfies interstate, regional and import-export containerised freight needs, and is an open access facility that promotes competition, with construction expected to commence in the second half of 2015.
The Moorebank Intermodal Terminal will operate as an open access facility with capacity for up to 1.05 million import-export and 500,000 interstate freight containers a year by 2030, and help reduce congestion by removing up to 1,500 truck journeys to and from Port Botany each day. MIC’s October 2014 Environmental Impact Statement cites that the project will generate an estimated 1,522 jobs to build the terminals and approximately 2,174 jobs to operate the terminals and ancillary activities. The total economic benefits of the project have been estimated at close to $9 billion.
The terminal will boost productivity and improve transport links in Australia's biggest city enabling import-export freight travelling through Sydney to and from Port Botany to be transported on rail instead of the road network, providing cheaper and more efficient freight transportation. The interstate terminal will take pressure off rural and regional roads and enhance the freight rail network, to help make rail freight a real competitor to road freight and benefit everyone in the national supply chain who needs to move goods.
Projects like Moorebank link Australia's freight networks and our ports, drive productivity, improve our logistics industries, and create long term efficiencies that will benefit our cities and our economy into the future.
Further details can be found on the Moorebank Intermodal Company website.