Independent review of Inland Rail

On 6 April 2023 the Australian Government released the findings of the Independent Review of Inland Rail and agreed to the 19 recommendations in full or in principle.

Immediate actions were announced 6 April 2023 to implement recommendations and get Inland Rail back on track. Read the Australian Government response to the independent review of Inland Rail.

Undertaken by Kerry Schott AO the review, confirmed that Inland Rail is an important project to meet Australia’s growing freight task, improve road safety and to help decarbonise our economy. The review also found significant deficiencies in the governance and management of Inland Rail.

Read The Delivery of Inland Rail: An Independent Review.

Review Recommendations

Dr Schott outlines 19 recommendations to improve the delivery of Inland Rail including:

  • Strengthening the governance arrangements and establishing a subsidiary company to deliver Inland Rail
  • Reviewing ARTC’s risk management and reporting systems, with a view to addressing issues experienced with approval processes
  • A further assessment of the scope and cost of Inland Rail, conducted by an independent specialist in conjunction with a cost estimator/value engineer
  • A revised delivery that prioritises sections of Inland Rail that allow revenue to be generated earlier
  • Deciding and developing intermodal terminals in Melbourne and Brisbane, and
  • Maximising regional opportunities available from Inland Rail, including through intermodal opportunities in Parkes and prioritising delivery of the enhanced rail capability to enable double stacking through to Beveridge.

Inland Rail alignment – connection in a broader network

The Government has acknowledged Beveridge and Truganina in Victoria, and Ebenezer in Queensland, subject to the completion of a business case with the Queensland Government, as the preferred locations for open-access intermodal terminal and the end points for Inland Rail’s double stacked service offering.

View the Inland Rail map.

Undertaking the Review

On 7 October 2022, the Australian Government announced the appointment of Dr Kerry Schott AO to lead an independent review to assess the governance and program delivery approaches of the Inland Rail Program.

The review was to help inform the future delivery of Inland Rail and considered of the scope, schedule and cost of the program. It also assessed options for the new Inland Rail intermodal terminals to be built in Melbourne and Brisbane, and considered a range of matters outlined in the review Terms of Reference.

The review was informed by targeted consultation with industry and governments and an open submission process.

  • Dr Schott met with stakeholders across the freight sector, regulatory bodies, peak industry bodies and state and federal Government departments.
  • Dr Schott additionally sought submissions from interested parties to share their views, experience and expectations on key themes relating to the delivery of the Inland Rail program.

Submissions closed 23:59 AEDT, Friday 11 November 2022. The review attracted more than 140 submissions to the online consultation platform.

Dr Schott delivered her report to Ministers on 13 January 2023.

Dr Kerry Schott AO

Dr Schott was appointed to undertaken the Independent Review of Inland Rail in October 2022.

She has been an adviser to governments, including as Chair of the Energy Security Board, and a chair and director of several public sector owned companies. Dr Schott is currently Chair of the NSW Net Zero Emissions Board and a Member of Aware Super’s Direct Assets Committee.

Previously, Dr Schott was Chair of Moorebank Intermodal, a Director of NBN, Chair of the Energy Security Board, and Managing Director and CEO of Sydney Water from 2006 to 2011. She also spent 15 years as an investment banker, including as Managing Director of Deutsche Bank and Executive Vice President of Bankers Trust Australia. During this time, she specialised in privatisation, restructuring, and infrastructure provision. This included the establishment of National Rail which in due course became ARTC.

Prior to becoming an investment banker, Dr Schott was a public servant and an academic. She holds a doctorate from Oxford University, a Masters of Arts from the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, and a Bachelor of Arts (first class Honours) from the University of New England. She has been awarded an Order of Australia and Honorary Doctorates from the University of Sydney, the University of Western Sydney, and the University of New England.