The Australian Government realises the importance of rail infrastructure. 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 $893.7 million to develop a new key piece of national infrastructure - the Melbourne to Brisbane Inland Railway via central-west NSW and Toowoomba.
In 2013, the Australian Government initially committed $300 million to enable pre-construction for Inland Rail to commence. In the 2016-17 Budget, the Australian Government injected a further $593.7 million to continue with pre-construction work and secure the Inland Rail corridor. The Australian Government will also conduct a market testing process to determine opportunities for the private sector to partner with Government and the Australian Rail Track Corporation to deliver Inland Rail.
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 standard to meet the needs of major freight customers.
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 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 4 June 2015, the then 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's Moorebank Intermodal Company (MIC) had signed an agreement with the Sydney Intermodal Terminal Alliance (SIMTA) for the development of the Moorebank Intermodal Terminal. Following divestment by Aurizon Holdings immediately after financial close, SIMTA becomes a wholly owned subsidiary of Qube Holdings, one of Australia’s leading freight logistic companies that will develop and operate the open-access freight terminal.
The agreement will see SIMTA develop and operate an intermodal freight terminal and warehousing across both Commonwealth and SIMTA-owned land at Moorebank, with direct rail access to Port Botany via the Southern Sydney Freight Line. Combining the site into a single development optimises the outcomes and minimises taxpayer exposure.
SIMTA will provide up to $1.5 billion in private investment for the project. Leveraging that significant private sector investment means the Commonwealth's commitment, through MIC, will be limited to around $370 million.
The Government recognises the private sector is best placed to design, construct and operate the intermodal terminal. MIC 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 by SIMTA expected to commence in late 2016 and the terminal to be operational in 2018.
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 around 2030, and alleviate road congestion by reducing the total distance travelled by import-export trucks in Sydney by over 60,000 kilometres each day. Over 1,300 jobs will be created during the construction phase, with around 7,000 jobs on site directly from intermodal activities and off-site in related industries and surrounding businesses in south-west Sydney once the intermodal terminal precinct is fully developed. 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 that needs to transport 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.