Market Sectors, Passenger Rail

Inaugural National Faster Rail Agency CEO appointed

The inaugural chief executive officer for the National Faster Rail Agency (NFRA) has been appointed, the minister for population, cities and urban infrastructure, Alan Tudge, announced on Monday.

Barry Broe will commence at NFRA on January 6 and will serve as CEO for an initial five-year term. Broe will be coming into the role after seven years as coordinator-general for the Queensland government.

“Broe has spent over 40 years in major project, transport and public sector infrastructure delivery including over 17 years at executive or CEO level. He has direct local and international experience in rail and planning,” according to a government spokesperson.

He has held senior roles across government agencies, including with Brisbane City Council as divisional manager Brisbane Infrastructure, with Transport for London as director of transport planning and policy, and with Queensland Transport as director transport planning South East Queensland, according to his LinkedIn page.

Broe’s role as Queensland’s coordinator-general involved assessing and approving major infrastructure projects, oversight over projects in designated “state development areas” to promote economic growth, and ensuring that communities near large resource projects benefited from the construction and operation of those projects.

The NFRA was created five months ago, in July this year, to support the delivery of the government’s 20-year Faster Rail Plan, which includes $2 billion for faster rail between Melbourne and Geelong and eight regional to capital city business cases along the eastern seaboard.

“Faster rail networks are crucial to easing congestion pressures in our cities and shaping Australia’s future as our population grows,” Tudge said.

“Investing in faster rail will create jobs and bust congestion, giving time back to commuters and enabling more people to live in our regions while working in our cities.”

The NFRA will work in partnership with state and territory governments and private industry to develop the rail infrastructure between major cities and key regional centres necessary to for the project. The agency will have an Expert Panel to provide advice on faster rail related matters including existing faster rail project business cases, new potential faster rail corridors, future developments across networks and infrastructure requirements and priorities.

The Australasian Railway Association (ARA) congratulated Broe on the appointment.

“Mr Broe has a strong reputation of achievement and we welcome his appointment to deliver faster rail in Australia,” ARA chairman and acting CEO Danny Broad said.

“It will be critical that the Agency, under Mr Broe’s leadership, recognises the need to invest in existing and new lines to stretch Government dollars and provide a faster rail service offering that meets the needs of the Australian population.”

The ARA, however, pointed out that not all faster rail projects require brand new rail lines.

“Faster rail can be achieved through upgrades and modifications to existing rail infrastructure, such as passing loops, new signalling systems and level crossing removals.”

The industry association said that its member companies have identified a number of smaller projects that can deliver faster rail solutions without the expense of investing in new rail lines and trains.

“The ARA also looks forward to discussions with the Agency about long term plans to acquire the corridor for Brisbane to Melbourne High Speed Rail,” Broad said.