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Annual Inland Rail Conference Connecting Regions, Building Australia - Toowoomba 21-22 August 2019

Thursday 12th September
More than 450 delegates from community, government, industry and the university sector were in Toowoomba on 21 and 22 August to attend the 2019 Annual Inland Rail Conference and heard first-hand the opportunities that Inland Rail brings to the freight industry and our regions.

The conference brought together stakeholders from as far as Perth to explore a once in a generation infrastructure project commonly described as a “corridor of commerce”. Hosted by the Australian Logistics Council (ALC) and Australasian Railway Association (ARA), the conference explored how further collaboration and problem-solving with industry, government and community will unlock even greater benefits from Inland Rail’s construction and operation. 

Under the theme Connecting Regions, Building Australia, the conference offered a discussion platform for capitalising on the potential benefits of Inland Rail, without losing sight of its various challenges, particularly in the areas of skills development and community participation.

The Hon Minister for Regional Services, Decentralisation and Local Government, Mr Mark Coulton, presented the opening address for the conference, delivering inspiring words about the Australian Government’s record $100 billion pipeline of infrastructure investment and the transformational effects of Inland Rail for the nation. Watch some of the highlights  from the Minister’s address and conference proceedings. 

As well as exploring Inland Rail’s boost for supply chains, growth, productivity and connectivity, presenters discussed the challenges of positioning Inland Rail as a nation-leading project, attracting people for the long term. The importance of developing mutually beneficial partnerships was identified as a key to success, as was the need to invest in the skills and diversity of a workforce who will support construction and operation of Inland Rail over the forward horizon.

Local employment and economic stimulus for regional Australia are some of the key benefits of Inland Rail’s construction. Conference delegates spoke about the need to maximise these opportunities for regional Australia and the initiatives happening on the ground to employ local and spend local. Check out what some of the industry and government thought leaders had to say in this video – skills generation supporting Inland Rail 

Aligned with the conference proceedings, ARTC launched the Inland Rail Skills Academy, a key initiative to help create opportunities for education, training, skills development and employment along the alignment. This announcement saw ALC, ARA and ARTC sign a Memorandum of Understanding, committing to combine expertise to address skilled shortages in rail construction, maintenance and operations of freight rail as well as build the capacity of freight supply chains. For further information please visit ARTC’s Inland Rail site.

The 2020 Inland Rail Conference will take place in the twin cities of Albury/Wodonga.