The Australian Government's original decision to invest in Inland Rail was based on the benefit cost ratio of 2.62 highlighted in the 2015 business case.
Since that time, external influences, such as price of labour and materials, and changes in the project scope and scale have impacted the estimated cost of the project.
Large infrastructure projects have the effect of shocking the economy through investment in construction. Past macro-economic modelling of the Inland Rail economic boost has suggested the project could add more than $18 billion to the GDP during construction and the first 50 years of operation.
In light of the Independent Review into Inland Rail, the department is engaging an independent cost estimator and value engineer to confirm the required investment and delivery schedule to build Inland Rail.
Contemporary modelling of Inland Rails economic and employment impacts will be undertaken in line with confirming a revised delivery schedule and investment profile for Government consideration.
Inland Rail is already providing direct and indirect benefits, with jobs and economic stimulus for local communities where the alignment is being constructed, or is currently operational.
- 1862 people worked on the Parkes to Narromine project from December 2018 to August 2020. 302 of whom are Indigenous.
- 762 local residents worked on the Parkes to Narromine project, 197 of whom are local and Indigenous.
- $109.7million was spent with 99 local business through the Parkes to Narromine project, with $14.1 million spent with 9 Indigenous businesses Australia-wide.
- The Parkes to Narromine project created sustainable jobs, employing 938 people for 26 weeks or over, for a minimum of 15 hours a week.
- 2142 people have worked on the Narrabri to North Star Project since September 2020, 371 of whom are Indigenous.
- 678 local residents worked on the Narrabri to North Star Project, 185 of whom are local and Indigenous.
- $239.7 million has been spent with 137 local businesses through the Narrabri to North Star project, with $22.5 million spent with 13 Indigenous business Austraila-wide.
- The Narrabri to North Star project created sustainable jobs, employing 1984 people for 26 weeks or over for a minimum of 15 hours a week.
Supply chain benefits
The Independent Review into Inland Rail acknowledges that Australia's freight task will increase up to 20% by 2040, and confirms that the Inland Rail Project is needed to meet the growing demands on freight across the country.
A partnership with CSIRO to model transport cost reductions by applying the Transport Network Strategic Investment Tool (TraNSIT) resulted in the publication of the CSIRO Supply Chain Mapping Project. This study also found that Inland Rail will strengthen the national supply chain network by connecting freight networks delivering more than 790 billion tonnes of food, fibre, and essential goods freighted each year to Australian capital cities.
The Supply Chain Mapping Study also highlighted a number of potential economic benefits that Inland Rail could provide, including the potential to deliver cost savings of up to:
- $80.77 per payload tonne for existing road-based supply chains, when switching to Inland Rail.
- $28.7 million each year for freight destined for Victoria, when switched from road to Inland Rail
- $7.0 million each year for freight destined for New South Wales, when switched from road to Inland Rail.