Federal infrastructure minister Darren Chester has announced a pair of railway bridges will be built next month to support construction of Inland Rail, as reports emerged suggesting $1 billion will be committed to the line in the Federal Budget.
The ABC reported this week the $10 billion Inland Rail between Brisbane and Melbourne was in line for the Budget allocation, but the report was not wholly confirmed by Chester.
“I will not speculate on what is in the budget,” he was quoted as saying, “but what I will say is that the Inland Rail project is a critically important piece of infrastructure that the Turnbull-Joyce Government is committed to building.
“The Prime Minister’s already indicated that he wants construction to start in 2017 and that will occur.”
Treasurer Scott Morrison will hand down the Budget on May 9.
In the meantime, Chester made the formal announcement that two new railway bridges will be built next month between Narromine and Parkes.
The bridges will be built at Tomingley West and Narwonah on the ARTC’s national rail network, and will support the delivery of Inland Rail when construction begins.
The $1.3 million project will replace two timber bridges with concrete culvert structures.
“As well as improving part of the existing rail line that connects the national interstate rail networks, these new bridges will be part of the Inland Rail route when it is constructed,” Chester said on April 20.
Australian Logistics Council boss Michael Kilgariff welcomed the announcement.
“The Federal Government is essentially future-proofing sections of existing rail track to accommodate the larger trains the Inland Rail line will facilitate,” Kilgariff said.
“ALC has consistently advocated for the construction of Inland Rail.”