Preparing for operations
Our role, 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.
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.
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). The program aimed 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 identified opportunities to support more productive rail-based supply chains at major regional centres and build capacity on key country rail lines along the Inland Rail corridor.
The program has enhanced the capacity of regional communities to identify, plan and capture the long-term benefits of Inland Rail.
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 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, Parkes and Brisbane can provide broader economic benefits including improving the competitiveness of Australia's freight supply chain.
In a further step to implement recommendations of the Inland Rail Independent Review, the Australian Government committed $3 million in the 2023-24 Budget to a feasibility study for an intermodal terminal in Parkes, New South Wales.
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.
The Independent Review of Inland Rail identified significant concerns as to the governance and delivery of Inland Rail. Shareholder departments are currently working with ARTC to implement the recommendations of the Review and revise and renew the Statement of Expectations.
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 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, Communications and the Arts as well as the Department of Finance provide government with 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 for Inland Rail 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 both its operation of the freight network and governance arrangements for the Inland Rail subsidiary company, including setting out ARTC's obligations under the governance arrangements. This statement is currently under review.