The Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC) has taken another step towards construction of Inland Rail in Queensland with the signing of an agreement with a Brisbane-based joint venture.
The BHQ joint venture (BHQ JV), comprising of Bielby Holdings, JF Hull Holdings, and QH&M Birt, has entered into a collaborative framework agreement with ARTC for the Northern Civil Works Program.
ARTC Inland Rail Interim Chief Executive Rebecca Pickering said the announcement was the culmination of months of work by ARTC, and will ultimately support hundreds of jobs in Queensland.
“Inland Rail is a fast freight backbone that will transform how goods are moved around Australia – it’s also a catalyst for regional employment and economic opportunity,” Pickering said.
“Queensland stands to benefit significantly from Inland Rail, with about two-thirds of the total project expenditure allocated for Queensland, and more than 11,800 jobs expected at the peak of construction in 2023-24.
“We’ve already committed contracts to over 630 businesses in Queensland worth over $1.5 billion, and this agreement will bring even more stimulus to the state as it recovers from the economic impacts of the pandemic.”
Pickering said the appointment of a civil works proponent in parallel with environmental planning approvals will allow local businesses to hit the ground running when formal approval is given.
“Major construction will not start until statutory approvals have been received from the Queensland and Australian governments, but with the appointment of a preferred proponent now tells local businesses to get ‘Inland Rail ready’ and start talking with BHQ JV about what the future looks like,” she said.
“This is an extensive program of civil works with more than 160km of rail corridor within the Border to Gowrie section of Inland Rail, including more than 30 bridges spanning over 11km, more than 900 concrete culvert cells and the use of over 200 pieces of machinery.
“We will also need a large local workforce to support this part of the project with an estimated 950 workers needed at the peak of construction.
“BHQ will initially be working with ARTC to review reference design and develop construction plans and methodologies ahead of the development of a fully costed proposal for the first of the works packages next year.
“BHQ JV will now be seeking partnerships with businesses and skilled operators that can support project delivery such as transport operators, fencing, quarries, earthworks and electrical companies.”
Bielby Holdings Managing Director and BHQ JV spokesman Adam Edwards said the agreement allowed the joint venture to start engaging with a range of local businesses.
“Bielby, JF Hull and QH&M Birt are honoured to be selected by ARTC as their design and construction partner for the Northern Civil Works Program as part of the broader Inland Rail project,” Edwards said.
“As three proudly Queensland owned businesses, we have a 40-year history of working together on a collaborative basis to deliver exceptional outcomes for both our clients and the communities in which we operate.
“We are excited by the opportunity to continue this tradition, and we look forward to working with both ARTC and the various stakeholders in the region on this nation building project.”