The second round of Expression of Interest for the $44 million Inland Rail Interface Improvement Program has opened the door to potential projects in the New England.
Member for New England, Barnaby Joyce, and the Australian Government are calling for producers, manufacturers and supply chain businesses in the region to submit their ideas for projects that can maximise connections to Inland Rail’s fast, reliable and cost-competitive freight service.
A number of northern NSW projects had been found eligible in the first round of the Program and Mr Joyce encouraged other local businesses and communities to put themselves forward in the second round.
“The New England relies on the national freight network to transport the high quality food and fibre produced locally to Australian consumers and the Interface Improvement Program provides a way for New England businesses to maximise their connection to fast, reliable and cost-competitive freight,” Mr Joyce said.
“In the first round of the Program, local proposals ranged from intermodal freight facilities in Gunnedah and Moree to improved rail corridor connectivity on the NSW-QLD border.
“Proponents of these projects are now working with business case and technical advisors to develop pre-feasibility studies, feasibility studies and strategic business cases.
“The projects that move forward under the Program are those that make a real difference to local communities – ones that improve supply chains, better connect country rail lines to Inland Rail and have the potential to provide further opportunities for the New England.”
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Michael McCormack called on farmers, local and state governments, industry and community to put forward project ideas to better connect to Inland Rail and maximise the benefits of fast, efficient and cost-competitive freight rail.
“Inland Rail is a game-changer for regional Australia — it will fundamentally change the way freight moves around our nation at the same time as generating more than 16,000 jobs across Victoria,
New South Wales and Queensland,” Mr McCormack said.
“At a time when the COVID-19 pandemic is taking such a toll on our economy, Inland Rail is poised to boost regional economies now and into the future.
“This Program is about exploring ideas and options to get the most out of Inland Rail for communities along the alignment. It takes project ideas from local innovators and matches them with specialist business advisors, helping them meet industry requirements to bring projects one step closer to attracting funding — turning ideas into bricks and mortar infrastructure.
“The second round of EOI is another chance to bring local knowledge and expertise to the table to support more efficient supply chains, improve connectivity to country rail lines and ensure opportunities from Inland Rail are realised for towns and communities around the nation.”
Finance Minister Mathias Cormann said the Interface Improvement Program would improve connectivity to Inland Rail, allowing for more efficient supply chain movements.
“Connectivity is key to future proofing the Inland Rail – improved connectivity will maximise the return Inland Rail delivers to national productivity.
“Through the Interface Improvement Program we are taking important steps to invest in the broader national freight network and in doing so, increase the market opportunities for Australian manufacturers, producers and growers,” Minister Cormann said.
By providing business case support, the Program helps local organisations, governments and communities make a case for further investment. Participation in the Program does not guarantee projects will receive future funding.
The Interface Improvement Program does not provide or guarantee funding for projects.
Interested parties are encouraged to submit their project proposals to the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications by 18 September 2020.
For more information on Inland Rail and the Interface Improvement Program, or to submit a proposal visit www.InlandRail.gov.au