The Inland Rail Sustainability Strategy objectives and targets are reviewed annually as part of the commitment to continuous improvement and to address evolving industry benchmarks and community expectations.

Seven strategy objectives, including leadership and awareness, governance, community and economy, environment and heritage, resource use, sustainable procurement and future operations, demonstrate Inland Rail’s holistic approach to sustainability.

The report confirmed Inland Rail has continued to minimise impacts and generate benefits through a wide range of environmental, social, cultural, and economic initiatives. It highlights that every opportunity has been taken to cut energy use, including the solar powered signalling system installed on the Narrabri to North Star section and approval of another 82 solar signalling sites across Queensland and New South Wales.

Once operational, these systems are estimated to avoid more than 570 tonnes of carbon emissions annually. Using solar instead of mains power for these 24-hour signalling sites also saves tens of thousands of dollars in construction and electricity costs and reduces construction disruption to communities.

The Inland Rail Environmental Studies Program continued to investigate fauna along the rail alignment with the aim of gathering valuable data to inform and guide decisions made to minimise impacts. Some highlights from the studies conducted throughout the year include the unique techniques employed to study aquatic species, trialling habitat for Brigalow reptiles and tracking microbat movements.

In 2023, the Stockinbingal to Parkes project received an ‘Excellent’ Design Rating from the Infrastructure Sustainability Council for demonstrating the project’s ongoing commitment to sustainability, innovation, and industry leadership.

Inland Rail Program continues to be a pacesetter for sustainability within the rail industry and infrastructure sector in Australia. This report reflects once again that with the right people, vision, values, and strategy Inland Rail can continue to reduce impacts while connecting Australia by improving our freight network.

Inland Rail Health, Safety and Engagement Director Stephen Jones said striking the right balance between cost, schedule, design, and benefits – both immediate and future – remained a challenge but also created exciting opportunities to think and act differently.

“It’s with this mindset, and commitment from our delivery partners, government, and communities, that we’ve driven the achievements showcased in this report,” he said.