Long-term economic opportunities

Regional Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria could see $13.3 billion in added value off the back of Inland Rail.

We commissioned an eight month study to understand Inland Rail’s long-term impact on regional economies, picture the possibilities for investment and help people make the most of the opportunities ahead. 

Jobs and economic value

The value of Inland Rail goes beyond moving our goods and the 21,500 jobs supported at the peak of construction. To measure its long-term potential, we asked a team at EY Australia to identify and assess the opportunities for regional jobs, economies and investments that operating Inland Rail might deliver. 

Building on the national economic boost from construction, Inland Rail can:

  • add up to $13.3 billion in today’s terms to the value of goods and services produced in its first 50 years of operation
  • offer 14,000 –16,000 job years for regional Australia over its first decade — that’s equivalent to 1,600 people working full time for 10 years 

2 kinds of growth

There is potential for direct and indirect economic growth off the back of a project like this – first in the supply chain, then in the industries that add value to transport and goods before they move. 

With Inland Rail we: 

  • get a cost-competitive and reliable alternative for transporting goods 
  • see the arrival of businesses who work with freight lines such as terminals, logistics, packaging, sorting, consolidation and warehousing 
  • attract businesses who add to the value of goods before they are transported such as food processors and manufacturers 
  • have the potential for business to gather in hubs, making the most of a concentrated group of services, transport options and suppliers.

Across four economic regions

The study looked at four regions along the Inland Rail alignment, identifying specific investment opportunities, long term jobs and economic value. These four regions cover a total of 103 local government areas approximately 50km east and 100km west of the rail line. 

The study found that Inland Rail can boost gross regional product in the first 50 years of the rail line's operation by up to: 

This economic uplift builds on the boost from construction and operation captured in the 2015 business case for Inland Rail. 

Each of the regional reports contain an economic profile for the area, including current freight movements and local sectors that have grown consistently in recent years. 

Investment opportunities now and down the track

In conversations with locals, this study found short, medium and long-term opportunities for investments in industries such as logistics, food and fibre processing, other forms of transport, defence and manufacturing. It’s promising to see some of these already in train. 

The Government has pointed to a first wave of developments already taking shape, including some that complement or fit the description of those identified in the research. As local economies and circumstances shift, there will be other opportunities this research has not considered. 

About the study

EY Australia’s in-depth study looked at case studies, international examples, local knowledge and used the best modelling for the job to understand the potential for investment, employment and growth along the rail line. 

Modelling has looked at cumulative growth and investment as well as a snapshot of the jobs and economic value in the 10th, 30th and 50th year of operation. 

This work has been tested with industry, governments and communities. In August 2019, the study team went to Narrabri, Toowoomba, Wagga Wagga and Wodonga to seek people’s views and test early concepts. 

We reported back to those communities, presenting the high-level preliminary results through information sessions in December 2019. 

This study builds on:

For more information

Regional intelligence reports include more detail on investment opportunities and local case studies for the: