Freight Rail

Community ‘planning tool’ in development for Inland Rail

A digital “strategic planning tool” providing communities information and data to help take advantage of the opportunities unleashed by the Inland Rail project is now in development and will be available in the coming months, the federal government has announced.

The “Are You Ready for Inland Rail?” tool, to be developed by the Regional Australia Institute (RAI), is to help communities along the freight rail link between Brisbane and Melbourne maximise the potential benefits unlocked by the project.

“This tool will outline the information regional communities need to consider to best prepare and take advantage of the long-term benefits of this corridor of commerce,” McCormack said.

“The RAI has a great track record in developing strategic regional planning tools, to help regions across Australia maximise their growth and development.”

The RAI was established in 2012 with seed funding from the $10 billion deal for regional Australia made between Labor and the independent MPs Tony Windsor and Rob Oakeshott in 2010. An independent think tank, its current operations are funded by a mix of Commonwealth and state government support and partnerships with private companies. The Turnbull government’s 2018-19 Budget provided additional funding support for the Institute.

RAI’s CEO Jack Archer said that the tool being developed would enable regions to develop strategic plans to help them get the most out of the Inland Rail corridor.

“The planning tool, which every region will be able to access and benefit from, regardless of their size or resource constraints, will help communities prepare for this once in a generation opportunity,” Archer said.

Regional development minister John McVeigh said the Inland Rail Regional Liaison Offices would be working with businesses and communities located along the alignment in utilising the planning tool.

“The long-term benefits of Inland Rail for regional Australia will be most effectively led by regional communities, and this tool will help regional communities to achieve this,” McVeigh said.

“The Regional Australia Institute, tasked with developing this tool, is an important advocate for regional communities and I am pleased we have been able to provide additional support for the RAI in this year’s Federal Budget.”

The “Are You Ready for Inland Rail?” tool will be available to the public from September 2018.