The economic benefit of Inland Rail has been generated using a macro-economic model of the Australian economy.

This model takes into account all of the main financial flows within the economy, including both the long-term operational productivity benefit delivered by Inland Rail and the stimulatory effect of the construction phase. 

This 2020 modelling outlines that Inland Rail will deliver an economic boost of more than $18 billion to GDP during construction and the first 50 years of operation.

More broadly, there are other economic benefits from Inland Rail including the opportunity to value add to the existing and new supply chains supported by this infrastructure. 

Every year our freight and supply chain networks – the businesses and people processing, transporting and storing goods – deliver approximately 4 billion tonnes of goods across Australia. The fast, efficient and reliable transportation of freight is critical to the productivity and international competitiveness of the nation.

Once completed Inland Rail will allow industry to more easily deliver to markets across Australia – our national freight rail network will be connected to all mainland state capital cities and major ports – providing a consistent track standard across the network. The efficiency of our supply chains are directly reflected in the price consumers pay for goods and efficient freight networks also ensure the competitiveness of Australian exports.

The 2015 Inland Rail Business Case estimated that the transport and logistic sectors of the Australian economy contribute 14.5% to gross domestic product (GDP), with Australia’s supply chain worth an estimated $150 billion every year.

In addition to the benefits above, Inland Rail has the potential to deliver both short and long-term economic opportunities to regional Australian communities on and off the alignment, as well as to metropolitan centres.

Jobs and economic value

The value of Inland Rail goes beyond moving our goods and the more than 21,500 jobs supported at the peak of construction. To measure its long-term potential, we asked a team at EY Australia to identify and assess the opportunities for regional jobs, economies and investments that Inland Rail might deliver in its first 10, 30 and 50 years of operation.

In addition to the immediate benefits from construction and operation, the EY regional opportunities report found Inland Rail can:

  • add up to $13.3 billion in today’s terms to gross regional product – the value of goods and services produced across the regions – in its first 50 years of operation
  • offer 14,000–16,000 job years for regional Australia over its first decade — that’s equivalent to 1,600 people working full time for 10 years.

Across four economic regions

The study looked at four regions along the Inland Rail alignment, identifying specific investment opportunities, long-term jobs and economic value.

These four regions cover a total of 103 local government areas approximately 50km east and 100km west of the rail alignment.

The study found that Inland Rail can boost gross regional product in the first 50 years of the rail line's operation by up to:

  • $1.7 billion in Northern New South Wales
  • $3.1 billion in Queensland
  • $3.8 billion in Southern New South Wales
  • $4.6 billion in Victoria

Two kinds of growth

There is potential for direct and indirect economic growth off the back of a project like this – first in the supply chain, then in the industries that add value to transport and goods before they move.

With Inland Rail we:

  • get a cost-competitive and reliable alternative for transporting goods
  • see the arrival of businesses who work with freight lines such as terminals, logistics, packaging, sorting, consolidation and warehousing
  • attract businesses who add to the value of goods before they are transported such as food processors and manufacturers
  • have the potential for business to gather in hubs, making the most of a concentrated group of services, transport options and suppliers.