ALC calls on Government to support Inland Rail in Budget

The Australian Logistics Council (ALC) has called on the Federal Government to commit funding for the Melbourne to Brisbane Inland Rail project in their 2017–2018 budget submission.
“The Melbourne to Brisbane Inland Rail Project has been positively assessed by Infrastructure Australia, Australia’s impartial infrastructure umpire, and has been listed on Infrastructure Australia’s Infrastructure Priority List,” said Michael Kilgariff, Managing Director, ALC. “ALC firmly believes that major projects need to have an independent detailed cost-benefit analysis. Inland Rail has a positive cost-benefit analysis, and the government now needs to demonstrate its commitment to the project by funding construction.
“Currently, all rail freight from Melbourne to Brisbane has to travel through the congested Sydney rail network, where passenger trains get priority. Inland Rail will reduce freight travel times from Melbourne to Brisbane to less than 24 hours.
“Last year, the Federal Government provided further funding for planning and pre-construction works. Now is the time to commit money to building the project,” he said.
Kilgariff noted renewed calls for High Speed Rail (HSR) as federal parliament resumes this week. “It is important to remember that HSR has never been thoroughly examined and prioritised by Infrastructure Australia, a body designed to take the politics out of infrastructure,” he said.
Kilgariff also provided caution about plans to ‘value capture’ increases in land prices to fund infrastructure – as shown in ALC’s submission to the Federal Government discussion paper Using Value Capture to Help Deliver Major Land Transport Infrastructure last year.
“Proponents often couch big infrastructure proposals as ‘no cost to government’. However taxpayers are inevitably asked to contribute and they are entitled to value for money,” he added.
“Inland Rail has been proven to be the right rail investment for Australia. It’s time to begin building it,” Kilgariff said.

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