Mark Campbell

New CEO announced for ARTC

Mark Campbell is the new CEO of the Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC).

Campbell will take over from John Fullerton after his appointment was confirmed by the board of the ARTC.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Michael McCormack welcomed Campbell to the top of the national rail track manager.

“We look forward to working closely with Campbell and continuing a strong professional relationship with the ARTC board and management as we deliver the 1,700-kilometre Melbourne to Brisbane Inland Rail and improve and maintain some 8,500 kilometres of rail,” said McCormack.

Campbell will oversee some of the many projects that Fullerton led, including the Inland Rail project which began during Fullerton’s time as CEO, as well as improvements to Australia’s national freight network. Finance Minister Mathias Cormann thanked Fullerton for his time at the head of ARTC.

“During Fullerton’s tenure, the ARTC made significant improvements to the efficiency and competitiveness of Australia’s interstate rail network.

“The ARTC also commenced delivery of Inland Rail under Fullerton’s leadership. Inland Rail will be the spine of Australia’s freight network, supporting 16,000 jobs during construction and providing a $16 billion boost to our national economy over the long term.”

Warren Truss, ARTC chairman, welcomed Campbell to the organisation and acknowledged the work done by Fullerton.

“We look forward to Campbell leading ARTC into an exciting future for Australia’s rail sector, which is set to play an increased role in the freight and transport industry over the next decade to help drive national productivity and the economic growth of the nation.

“On behalf of the ARTC Board, I would like to pay tribute to Fullerton for his outstanding career in the rail industry, which has spanned more than 40 years, including the past nine as head of ARTC. Unyielding in his efforts to promote the value of rail and transport supply chains to the national economy, Fullerton’s knowledge and guidance will be greatly missed, but we wish him every happiness in the future.”

Australasian Railway Association (ARA) CEO Caroline Wilkie welcomed Campbell’s appointment and thanked Fullerton for his work in the rail industry.

“Under his leadership, the ARTC has been reinvigorated through a wide-reaching transformation program that has seen the company become more competitive, customer-focused and results-oriented.”

Fullerton has put in place an organisation with the capacity to construct and maintain billions of dollars’ worth of rail infrastructure, and led change within ARTC itself, resulting in major advances in the company’s safety performance, customer focus, and asset improvement.”

Kirk Coningham, CEO of the Australian Logistics Council (ALC) highlighted the significant steps forward taken during Fullerton’s time as CEO.

“The decision of the Federal Government to fund the construction of Inland Rail in 2017 was a watershed moment, following many years of advocacy by our organisation and the leading transport and logistics companies we represent.

The success of the industry-led Inland Rail Conference first staged by ALC and the Australasian Railway Association (ARA) in Parkes in 2018 and then in Toowoomba last year was greatly enhanced by ARTC’s active support, and in particular by Fullerton’s commitment to ensuring regional communities share in the economic benefits of this once-in-a-generation freight infrastructure project.”

Campbell was most recently the CEO and managing director of Holcim Australia and New Zealand, which supplies aggregates, concrete, and concrete products in Australia and New Zealand. Prior to Holcim, Campbell worked in other construction materials and quarrying companies in Australia, Malaysia, and the UK and has a background in civil engineering.

“Campbell’s extensive prior experience in the construction and infrastructure sectors means he is well-placed to continue driving the improvements to rail infrastructure and safety which are at the heart of all ARTC’s activities,” said Coningham.

“ALC looks forward to working closely with Mr Campbell and the entire ARTC team when he takes up his new position.”

Intermodal hubs and freight infrastructure among new $44m Inland Rail developments

16 local project proposals will be developed as part of the Australian Government’s $44 million Inland Rail Interface Improvement Program.

Michael McCormack, Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development has announced an EY Australia-led consortium has been commissioned to further develop Inland Rail interface improvements.

“Sixteen projects were found eligible in this first round of applications, and those groups are now working with the EY-led consortium to develop pre-feasibility studies, feasibility studies, and strategic business cases,” he said.

McCormack said an intermodal facility at Mangalore, expanded freight infrastructure in the Riverina, and rail upgrades between Kurumbul to Thallon are projects that are being supported through the Interface Improvement Program.

“Inland Rail has always been about far more than building a rail line – it’s about investing in our national freight network, enhancing supply chains, and bringing jobs and economic opportunity to regional Australia,” McCormack said.

“Large infrastructure projects deliver great stimulus to the national economy – Inland Rail, for example, will boost GDP by $16 billion and support 16,000 jobs during construction,” he said.

Mark Coulton, Minister for Regional Health, Regional Communications and Local Government said the Inland Rail Interface Improvement Program is investigating options for regions to maximise their connections to this national freight network.

Coulton said new supply chains enabled by Inland Rail stretch well beyond the tracks connecting Melbourne and Brisbane.

“We are backing local ideas because we know that the connections to Inland Rail will be critical to create economic uplift and ongoing jobs in our regions,” he said.

Proposals received through the Expression of Interest process were assessed by the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications, and by its independent assurance and technical advisor.

Proposals will be developed through pre-feasibility or feasibility studies and strategic business cases, depending on the individual project proposal.

Eligibility to progress through to an appropriate assessment gateway for proposal development was assessed against the Interface Improvement Program principles and information requirements including supporting regional economic growth, capacity to increase Inland Rail throughput and supporting National Freight and Supply Chain Priorities.

Mathias Cormann, Finance Minister, said Inland Rail would change the way freight is moved around Australia, offering a fast and efficient alternative to complement long-haul road transport along Australia’s east coast.

“Now more than ever, our investment in Inland Rail is vital to build resilience in the national freight network that provides an essential service to Australians – delivering the inputs needed to drive small business and fuel our national economy,” he said.

“Our commitment through the Interface Improvement Program will further enhance community and industry connectivity to Inland Rail, and ensure our producers and manufacturers remain competitive.”

McCormack said the complementary businesses, manufacturers, and logistics hubs that establish along this freight rail line will provide sustained employment for people in regional Australia and boost gross regional product by up to $13.3bn over the long term.

The 1,700-kilometre Inland Rail line will connect Melbourne, Brisbane and regional areas through fast and reliable freight rail and will create around 16,000 jobs during the construction phase, while supporting approximately 700 jobs once it is operational.

Inland Rail to boost regional Australia by $13.3b

Regional communities across Australia are set to benefit from $13.3 billion in gross regional product due to the Inland Rail project.

According to an eight month study by EY, Inland Rail can add up to $13 billion in today’s terms to the value of goods and services produced over its first 50 years of operation.

The report was undertaken throughout 2019 and released by the Deputy Prime Minister in March 2020. The report builds on the projected 16,000 jobs and $16 billion boost to the national economy outlined in the 2015 Inland Rail Business Case

Michael McCormack, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development said Inland Rail is going to draw industry to regional Australia where the enhanced freight rail network will connect companies and consumers both domestically and internationally

“What the EY report is assessing is the additional benefit to communities from the opportunities that arise for local businesses and people from the completion of Inland Rail,” he said.

“For example, it might be a cereal manufacturer whose freight costs drop by 30 per cent allowing the employment of additional staff, or it might be the expansion of regional processing that takes advantage of Inland Rail’s lower cost and greater capacity and connectivity.”

EY looked at case studies, international examples, and local knowledge to determine the potential for investment, employment and growth along, and beyond, the alignment.

“The benefits of this project are going to be felt across generations. Right now, young people from regional areas are directly benefiting from working on Inland Rail’s construction including the 656 locals who have worked on the project in the Parkes region and the more than $75 million spent with local businesses,” he said.

“Inland Rail gives these communities new ways to grow and rebuild with better connections to interstate and international markets, new jobs and a stronger case for attracting public and private investment,” he said.

Mathias Cormann, Finance Minister said the first wave of developments are taking shape.

“We are very confident that many other regional towns in and around the Inland Rail corridor will secure further significant investment, development and job creation opportunities for their towns on the back of this exciting project,” Cormann said.

The Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communication said in a statement that this work was tested with industry, governments, and communities with the study team heading to Narrabri, Toowoomba, Wagga Wagga, and Wodonga to get people’s views. 

That input shaped the forecasting and tested the study’s early findings. 

“We thank the communities, industry groups and local government who helped shape this work with local data and evidence,” the department stated.

The report followed another week of speculation on the impact of flooding on the regional rail link’s route via the Condamine floodplain. Shadow Member for Infrastructure, Transport, and Regional Development Catherine King said that the government needs to consider hydrological modelling commissioned by farmers close to the alignment.

The Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC) released a statement standing by its own modelling, which it said showed that the selected route is the right one.

“The science tells us there is no premise to change the route based on flood modelling and the economics tells us that this route was the most viable, cost effective option,” said ARTC Inland Rail chief executive Richard Wankmuller.

Local concerns have been incorporated into the design of the route, said Wankmuller.

“It’s important governments and the community have confidence in the engineering and science that allows countries like Australia to deliver world-class infrastructure.”

As part of the deal signed between the federal and Queensland governments which gave the Border to Gowrie section the go-ahead, an international review panel will review the floodplain modelling.

Moree Inland Rail regional office announces first Regional Liaison Officer

The first Inland Rail Regional Liaison Officer has been assigned to the lead the Moree Inland Rail regional office. 

The Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Cities and Regional Development appointed the position to long-time local resident Angela Doering.

Doering will work with communities and local businesses based from Narrabri in New South Wales to the Queensland border to help people benefit from Inland Rail. 

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development, Michael McCormack said it’s vital that we have specialist expertise working with businesses and local communities. 

“Inland Rail is expected to support 5,000 jobs in New South Wales and provide a boost of more than $2.5 billion to the state economy,” McCormack said.

“This office will provide the opportunity for Moree and surrounding communities to talk directly to Government about regional development outcomes and economic opportunities available ahead of the construction of the next section of Inland Rail – the Narrabri to North Star (N2NS).” 

Finance Minister Mathias Cormann said the opening of the Moree office will help build economic resilience in regional Australia.

“Investing in our national freight network will improve connections between our regional communities and important domestic and international markets, ensuring our producers and manufacturers remain globally competitive,” Cormann said.

Member for Parkes and Minister for Regional Services, Decentralisation and Local Government, Mark Coulton said Moree is one of the highest producing agricultural shires in Australia and the region is positioned to drive future freight productivity through road and rail connections to Inland Rail.

“Our investment through Inland Rail builds the essential connections that this region needs to further grow and strengthen their markets,” Coulton said.

He said he is thrilled Doering has been appointed to the Moree office.

“No one knows regional towns like the people who live there,” Coulton said.

Doering will support the implementation of Australian Government programs, including the Inland Rail Interface Improvement Program and expansion of the CSIRO’s Inland Rail TraNSIT study to model potential Inland Rail cost savings.

“The programs we’re delivering will better connect the region to far-reaching ports through an enhanced national network, creating new supply chains that build prosperity in the region – moving the wheat, barley and produce the region is famous for,” Coulton said.

She will also work with industry and community during Inland Rail’s planning and design for projects such as the Macintyre River crossing.

The Moree Office has joined a broader network of Inland Rail Regional Offices that will assist regional activities of Australian Government staff already established in Wodonga, Dubbo and Toowoomba offices.