Thursday, February 12, 2015
National Party votes for the inland Melbourne-Brisbane railway

Holding its first Party Room meeting for 2015 in Wodonga, Victoria, the "Nationals reaffirmed their fervent support for the Melbourne to Brisbane Inland Rail project."

Nationals Leader, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development Warren Truss emphasised that the Inland Rail is a critical investment in jobs, growth and our future prosperity, especially for the regional areas along, and around, its route.

"It will be a game changer for how we move freight through this region, as well as across Victoria, New South Wales and Southern Queensland, linking to the existing national network to move freight around the nation," Mr Truss said.

"It will connect regional communities with capital cities and producers with export markets.

"We know Australia's freight task will double by 2030 and triple by 2050. The Inland Rail will connect key production areas in regional Victoria and NSW with ports in Brisbane and Melbourne. The Inland Rail will boost regional economic growth to drive national productivity."

Mr Truss said the Government is awaiting a report of the Inland Rail Implementation Group, headed by former Deputy Prime Minister John Anderson AO.

"The Implementation Group is working to determine construction priorities, engage with the community and stakeholders, settle the alignment and examine financing options," he said.

"Inland Rail will enable Australia's freight rail services to strongly compete with road, through substantially reduced transit times and improvements in rail service quality and pricing.

The Australasian Railway Association (ARA) welcomed this announcement.

Chief executive officer of the ARA Bryan Nye OAM said he felt reassured by this show of continued support for the project, particularly given construction is set to commence later this year.

"Australia needs an inland rail to meet the growing freight demand along the east coast and, importantly, have less of that freight travelling by road and more on rail," said Mr Nye.

"With further funding and support from the Federal Government, the Inland Rail will bring major economic benefits, particularly for regional Australia, opening up job opportunities and exporting efficiencies for the agriculture industry.

"Intermodal hubs created along the Inland Rail route will require specialised skill sets therefore creating new jobs, as well as provide opportunities for regional communities to link up with more efficient export supply chains, profiting from the Inland Rail's benefits of scale.

"I particularly hope to see a tangible commitment from the Government to the project with more funding allocated in the 2015/16 Federal Budget," Mr Nye concluded.
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