The Australian Logistics Council (ALC) says it is crucial the planned alignment of the Inland Rail project is maintained to give certainty to industry and ensure the travel times forecast in the business case are realised.
“The Inland Rail Route was surveyed and planned seven years ago, in 2010. The business case for Inland Rail was developed based on that route,” said ALC managing director, Michael Kilgariff.
“Moreover, other organisations have made investment decisions about locating new freight infrastructure based upon that route. This includes projects such as InterLinkSQ’s intermodal facility, which is already under construction near Toowoomba.”
“To alter the planned route now would retrospectively penalise those investors, undermine the business case and risk yet more delay to a project that has already been decades in development.”
“ALC has consistently said that more effective long-term planning is essential to improving the efficiency of our supply chains and freight networks. The current Inland Rail route has been planned for years, and to deviate from it now would violate every principle of good planning and maintaining investor confidence,” Mr Kilgariff said.
“It’s important to remember that Inland Rail is about establishing a port-to-port freight rail link from Melbourne to Brisbane, with a journey time of less than 24 hours – some 10 hours faster than the current rail route through Sydney.”
“We can’t afford to lose sight of that unambiguous objective by beginning to debate passenger rail links to regional airports. Frankly, that is not what Inland Rail is about.”
“The Inland Rail project has been debated and discussed for decades. The Government’s decision to commit $8.4 billion to support its construction in the Federal Budget was a crucially important moment for Australia’s freight logistics sector.”
“The last thing our industry and the national economy can afford is further delay to the Inland Rail project because of speculative discussions about altering the route or incorporating passenger services.”
“Such delays will do nothing to deliver the clear economic benefits of Inland Rail, and will simply undermine investor and industry confidence,” he concluded.