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We won’t play politics on inland rail scheme: Patrick

<p>Patrick Corporation has rejected a claim that it is behind an alternative bid to construct an inland railway linking Melbourne and Brisbane.</p> <p>The company described a story in today’s <em>Australian Financial Review</em> (Thursday, July 22), which suggested Patrick would stump up $500m to capitalise on a Federal Government need for rural votes, as "a complete beat up".</p> <p>A spokeswoman said Patrick chief Chris Corrigan had reaffirmed an old pledge that the company would give financial support to a workable scheme but denied that the company had made any kind of announcement or was leading an inland railway venture.</p> <p>"Mr Corrigan said six months ago that Patrick Corporation would make $500m available if a suitable project arose," she said.</p> <p>The company had been a member of the Australian Transport and Energy Corridor (ATEC), which was one body proposing to construct an inland railway but was no longer a member, she said.</p> <p>"We decided that the [ATEC&#93 project wasn’t viable without very significant government funding and taxpayer support and we advised them in May that we would be withdrawing," the spokeswoman said. </p> <p>Patrick still has $500m it would make available, "should something suitable be proposed".</p> <p>Yesterday, federal transport minister John Anderson said there was more than a proposal for an inland railway, but declined to name alternatives to the ATEC scheme or specify how many rival projects had come forward. </p> <br />