Preparing for operations

The role of the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications, as joint shareholder with the Department of Finance, is to lead the strategic direction and oversight of the Australian Rail Track Corporation’s (ARTC) delivery of Inland Rail, while seeking to maximise value from the Government’s commitment to Inland Rail.

The department also leads the delivery of complementary projects such as the $44 million Inland Rail Interface Improvement Program, terminals business cases in Queensland and Victoria and the CSIRO Inland Rail supply chain mapping study.

Inland Rail is being delivered by ARTC who manage community input and consultation for Inland Rail’s construction, including state government regulatory approvals and Environmental Impact Statements.

Beyond construction, the department manages a range of program and research initiatives that can help people connect to Inland Rail’s benefits.

Communities can use the studies and information on this site to identify their opportunities for growth and connect with our Regional Liaison Officers for detailed conversations about investment and local planning.

The North West connection at Parkes is part of the Inland Rail track and is already in operation. This connects Inland Rail to the national network, joining the existing Broken Hill Line to the rail track south of Henry Parkes Way and streamlining freight movements across Australia – from Perth in the West to Sydney and Newcastle in the East.


Connectivity is at the heart of the Government’s commitment to Inland Rail.

In the 2019-20 Budget $44 million was committed to the Inland Rail Interface Improvement Program (II Program). This program aims to maximise connections to the national freight rail network – integrating regional lines and connecting local communities to the benefits that flow from Inland Rail.

Strategic business cases will identify opportunities to support more productive rail-based supply chains at major regional centres and help to build capacity on key country rail lines along the Inland Rail corridor.

With the support of our existing network of Inland Rail Regional Offices, the program will enhance the capacity of regional communities to identify, plan and capture the long-term benefits of Inland Rail.

Learn more about the II Program and successful projects.

Port of Brisbane

The Australian and Queensland Governments are undertaking further planning for the rail freight connection supporting the enhanced capacity and capability of Inland Rail through to the Port of Brisbane. This work builds on the findings of the Port of Brisbane Strategic Rail Access Study.

Intermodal terminals

Intermodal terminals play a significant role in facilitating the consolidation, storage and transfer of freight between rail and road at the beginning and end of each rail journey. By providing connectivity to ports, regional networks and capital cities, Intermodal terminals are critical to realising the benefits of Inland Rail.

Efficient intermodal terminals in Melbourne and Brisbane will provide broader economic benefits including improving the competitiveness of Australia’s freight supply chain.


The Australian Government’s continued commitment to deliver Inland Rail includes equity and grant funding to the Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC). The accounting classification of capital contributions as equity is based on government expectations to earn a real return from ARTC over the life of the investment.

As Inland Rail is a long-term investment to boost the country’s productive capacity it is ideally suited to government investment.

There are three core governance documents between the Commonwealth and ARTC.

These establish ARTC’s role in project delivery and the expectations of Shareholder Ministers, oversight and financing arrangements, and the precise parameters of the Inland Rail project.

Project Development Agreement

The Project Development Agreement sets out parties’ cooperation, development and implementation obligations and objectives, along with detailed reporting obligations to the Commonwealth of Australia.

The new governance arrangements are in addition to existing accountability and reporting obligations that ARTC has under the Public, Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013 (PGPA Act), the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Rule 2014, the Corporations Act 2001, the ARTC Commercial Freedoms Framework 2012 and other policy guidance as made by government.

To support Shareholder Ministers, the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications and the Department of Finance provide government with clear visibility of ARTC’s project delivery and risk management, and undertake reviews and evaluations of project implementation as necessary.

The shareholder departments are responsible for monitoring the government’s policy objectives for Inland Rail but do not have project delivery functions, which is the responsibility of ARTC.

Equity Financing Agreement

Establishes the quantum of financing provided to ARTC and the terms and conditions on which the funds will be provided.

The Equity Financing Agreement establishes the mechanism by which equity funding is to be provided to ARTC by the Government and contains a number of conditions, checks and controls.

Statement of Expectations

The Statement of Expectations details Shareholder Ministers’ expectations of ARTC in its delivery of Inland Rail, including setting out ARTC’s obligations under the governance arrangements.