The Federal and Victorian Governments have signed a Bilateral Agreement in relation to Inland Rail, making Victoria the first state to sign up to the project.
The Victorian Government has just signed up to the Inland Rail Project, a development that will provide a direct rail freight connection between Melbourne and Brisbane and jumpstart the state’s Regional Rail Revival program.
Victoria is the first state to officially commit to the Inland Rail Project, with Deputy Prime Minister and Federal Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Michael McCormack and Victorian Minister for Public Transport and Major Projects Jacinta Allan signing a bilateral agreement last week.
The agreement pledges Victoria to a long-term lease with the Australian Rail Track Corporation and supports the extension of the northeast inland rail corridor, in addition to changes to the North East Rail Line. This development will allow for the moving of double-stacked freight containers between Melbourne and Brisbane and is expected to return $16 billion to the national economy.
Mr. McCormack said it was a positive step forward on a project that will create both jobs and investment opportunities throughout regional Victoria.
“I’m pleased to reach agreement with Victoria, the first state to get behind Inland Rail which will improve freight travel times for local farmers and producers and support thousands of jobs,” he said.
“Once complete, Inland Rail will create thousands of jobs nationwide and return $16 billion to the national economy during the delivery phase and in the first 50 years of operation.”
While Inland Rail is a freight project, it will also extend benefits to passengers, releasing funds for much-needed upgrades via the Victorian Regional Rail Revival program.
Ms. Allan thanked the Deputy Prime Minister for “acting quickly, so we can now get on with the job of upgrading track, stations and signalling throughout regional Victoria, to run modern trains and get people home sooner.”
Australasian Railway Association (ARA) CEO Danny Broad welcomed the signing of the agreement.
“This is much welcomed news to the rail industry that an agreement has been reached between the Commonwealth and Victorian Government’s showing their commitment to the Inland Rail project,” Mr. Broad said.
“In Victoria alone the Inland Rail project will create 2,800 jobs at its peak and will reduce the transit time between Melbourne and Brisbane to under 24 hours carrying for the first time double-stacked, 1800m trains from Melbourne to Brisbane.
Mr. Broad said that industry backs the route that has been determined, backed up by detailed studies and community engagement and we are committed to next steps.
“It’s the best balance between economic, community and environmental considerations,” he said. “Inland Rail meets the requirements of the logistics industry’s supply chain demands for a road competitive freight link between Melbourne and Brisbane in under 24 hours.
“We are committed to the Inland Rail Project and are working with the Australian Logistics Council, with support from the ARTC and Parkes Shire in delivering the Inland Rail Conference on 18 and 19 July,” Mr. Broad concluded.