All Queensland project sections are in reference design stage. The draft Environmental Impact Statements for the four sections between NSW/Qld Border and Kagaru are expected to be finalised and released for public exhibition by early 2021.
While construction on the first section in Queensland is expected to commence in 2022, Queensland businesses are already benefiting from Inland Rail stimulus with $1.35 billion in contracts committed with 512 companies supporting everything from geotechnical studies and flood modelling, to office fit outs and car hire [figures as of November 2020].
Construction across all Queensland sections is expected to have commenced by 2023.
Queensland has a network of strong regional economies and communities, which offer diverse business, investment and employment opportunities. Five major international passenger airports and extensive road and rail networks enable Queensland to move people and freight efficiently across cities and regions.
On Friday 29 November 2019, Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack and Minister Mark Bailey signed a Bilateral Agreement that cements protections for Queensland residents and communities throughout the delivery of Inland Rail.
Queensland is set to benefit significantly from Inland Rail with two thirds of the total investment to be delivered in the state. With access to the Port of Brisbane using the existing line from Acacia Ridge, Queensland businesses, such as Good Morning Cereal and many others, can seek to expand their market both domestically and internationally.
Inland Rail will significantly reduce highway congestion across regional areas and South East Queensland. It will remove 110 B-double trucks for every 1,800m train (40% double stacked) travelling between Melbourne and Brisbane. The removal of trucks from the Warrego Highway, Ipswich Motorway and Pacific Highway will ease congestion and also improve road safety.
- There are 12 Local Government Areas (LGAs) that lie approximately 50km east and 100km west of the Inland Rail alignment in Queensland. One in every nine Australian’s live in this area.
- As of February 2020, this region was home to approximately 2,771,912 people, which includes the urban area of Brisbane and regional centre Toowoomba.
- The region is renowned for it’s agricultural, horticultural and livestock produce in both domestic and international markets while also producing significant amounts of minerals and resources.
- Agriculture and mining have experienced strong growth in recent years and have the potential to generate freight demand for Inland Rail, and to attract and enhance investments into the Inland Rail corridor. The Queensland study region’s mining sector grew by an average of 27% annually between 2015 and 2019. In the same period the agriculture sector grew by 11% annually.
- Major freight generators for the region are construction, manufacturing and mining which accounted for a combined 23% of gross value added (GVA) between 2015 and 2019.
- In addition, approximately 49% (243 million tonnes) of road freight originating from Queensland comes from this region.
An enduring boost for Queensland
In addition to the direct economic benefits identified by ARTC in 2020, the EY Inland Rail Regional Opportunities report identified that Inland Rail can further boost gross regional product (GRP) by up to $3.1 billion in the first 50 years of the rail line’s operation.
The report also identified that Inland Rail could provide up to an additional 590 full time jobs in its 10th year of operation and add up to $340 million to gross regional product.
A technical report is also available with a detailed summary of the research approach, methodology and supporting analysis.
Industry growth and investment
A long-term transport strategy has been developed by the Queensland Government which sets a framework that aims to align growing industry needs with an efficient and cost effective freight network. A key component of this strategy is to reduce transport costs that will benefit both businesses and consumers.
With a projected increase in freight volume of over 400 million tonnes over the next 15 years, the implementation of new transport hubs and investment opportunities will help to create jobs, support economies throughout the region and open up export opportunities for businesses across the region.
The following hubs are local initiatives that will present investment opportunities and complement industry throughout Queensland.
Toowoomba Enterprise Hub
This is a significant transport, logistics and business hub that offers a central location encompassing an internationally capable airport and major freight facilities on more than 2000 hectares of land close to major rail and road thoroughfares including the Warrego Highway.
SCT Logistics is a private freight operator and has invested $30 million in a new rail Intermodal Terminal at the Bromelton Industrial estate, adjacent to the Beaudesert-Boondah Road. The facility is built on 130 hectares and initially created 125 jobs and is expected to expand to 1,000 jobs with the finalisation of the masterplan of the facility.
The Australian Government is also working with the Queensland State Government to investigate options for an additional terminal in South East Queensland that is capable of accommodating present and future freight demands. Check out Inland Rail routes and hubs for more information on intermodal business case.
Inland Rail’s operation is also expected to support long-term regional growth, driven by investments in grain storage and handling, expanded logistics and cotton handling, food processing and mining support hubs amongst others. Read more about the opportunities for growth in the EY Inland Rail Regional Intelligence report for QLD.
Crossing the Queensland terrain
Crossing Queensland will involve the safe navigation of floodplains and require technically advanced engineering to tunnel 8.1km through the Toowoomba, Teviot and Little Liverpool ranges.
In November 2020, ARTC progressed the request for proposal process, inviting proposals from three consortia to tender for the Private Public Partnership that will deliver the most technically complex section of Inland Rail in Queensland.
In 2020 the Australian and the Queensland governments established an Independent Panel of Experts (the Panel) for flood studies to provide advice on the flood modelling that underlies the design of the Inland Rail route in Queensland. The Panel is reviewing ARTC’s flood modelling and reference designs against national guidelines and industry best practice.