Friday 25th Sep, 2020

Albrecht welcomes Cormann’s Inland Rail rethink

Resleepered track on WA's Leonora Branch Line. Photo: Brookfield Rail
Photo: Brookfield Rail

National Trunk Rail chairman Martin Albrecht has praised finance minister Mathias Cormann’s decision to stall the sale of the Australian Rail Track Corporation to consider the implications of progress on the Inland Rail project.

Albrecht said Cormann’s decision showed the government was considering other options to develop Inland Rail – a direct freight link between Brisbane and Melbourne via rural Queensland, NSW and Victoria.

National Trunk Rail is a private sector proponent of Inland Rail.

Albrecht has made the business pages in recent weeks, arguing for Inland Rail to be built through a public private partnership (PPP) scheme, which he says will “drive productivity through innovation to reduce costs to taxpayers and the government”.

“The Federal Government has said it is looking for the most efficient and cost effective way possible to deliver Inland Rail. That is what we have been promoting to government for some time with our NTR solution,” Albrecht said on September 4.

“The time for a high speed, fully integrated inland rail freight line is unquestionably now.

“We need a far-reaching and cost-effective solution to the nation’s growing east coast freight task, which is expected to double by 2030 and treble by 2050 – export opportunities through Free Trade Agreements can only be captured through the lowest life-cycle cost transport infrastructure.”

Albrecht said the private sector had an appetite for infrastructure investment.

NTR also includes former Queensland Rail chief Vincent O’Rourke, former Queensland Investment Corporation boss Dr Doug McTaggert and former Queensland Treasury chief executive Mark Gray.

The group believes the private sector is best placed to largely fund and build large infrastructure in a timely manner to attract early investment.

“NTR would be a strong participant in a PPP process and would deliver an inland rail design that is shorter, flatter, straighter and faster, and in less than six years from commencement,” Albrecht said.

“Most importantly, it will deliver massive productivity gains which will improve the international competitiveness of Australia’s agriculture and resource exports.

“That’s the best way to guarantee the ‘most efficient and cost effective’ inland rail the Federal Government is seeking.”

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