Governments to sign off on Inland Rail agreement
THE Federal and Queensland Governments will today sign the bilateral agreement for the Queensland portion of Inland Rail, bringing an end to years of disputes surrounding the project.
Groom MP John McVeigh said the signing, to take place in Toowoomba later this morning, gave the green light to deliver the transformational rail link between Melbourne and Brisbane, supporting thousands of jobs and billions of dollars of investment in Queensland and across the nation.
"Today's official signing of the bilateral agreement in Toowoomba to deliver Inland Rail in Queensland is a historic day for the people of this state," Mr McVeigh said.
"Inland Rail will support more than 7000 jobs and a long-term boost of more than $7 billion for the Queensland economy, which will make a real difference to local communities especially in regional areas such as Toowoomba and the Darling Downs.
"The agreement (to be) signed today places community benefits and protections at the front and centre of Inland Rail's delivery in Queensland and I am excited to be part of a government that is getting on with delivering the critical infrastructure to support the sustainable, long-term growth of our sunshine state."
Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack said the signing of the agreement ensured Queenslanders would be able to take full advantage of the local jobs and opportunities the construction and operation of Inland Rail delivered to the state.
"The Federal Liberal and Nationals Government has committed up to $9.3 billion to deliver the Melbourne to Brisbane Inland Rail, as part of our broader $100 billion infrastructure pipeline which is already supporting jobs for our regions, moving freight more efficiently, busting congestion and delivering safer roads," Mr McCormack said.
"This transformational infrastructure will provide a catalyst for industry investment, some of which we already see in regional centres such as Toowoomba - creating local jobs where they are needed most and supporting decongestion on major roads to ensure people get to and from their destinations sooner and safer."
Queensland Transport and Main Roads Minister Mark Bailey said that the agreement reached with the Australian Government cements protections for Queenslanders, and would see close to $2 billion in joint-funding fast-tracked for road and rail projects across the state.
"The delivery of Inland Rail in Queensland is a huge win for the state, providing jobs and opportunities to communities," Mr Bailey said.
"This deal will see us work with the Federal Government on business cases for passenger rail services from Salisbury to Beaudesert, Brisbane to Toowoomba and a dedicated rail freight line to the Port of Brisbane.
Mr Bailey said this includes better understanding the expected freight demand on the line into the future and identifying opportunities for intermodal terminals at Ebenezer and Bromelton to assist in managing the freight task.
The projects will support the Trade and Enterprise Spine initiative identified under the South East Queensland City Deal statement of intent.
All parties have also agreed to establish an international panel to advise on the modelling of potential flood impacts and continuing community consultation along the project's chosen route through Queensland.
"In addition to the expert hydrologists already engaged by the Australian Rail Track Corporation, an expert panel of international specialists will be established to advise on best practice flood structural integrity and report back to the Queensland and Australian Governments," Mr Bailey said.
"Queenslanders can have confidence that a comprehensive and detailed approvals process for the project is being undertaken that includes rigorous environmental, planning and statutory approvals."
Inland Rail will use a Public Private Partnership to leverage private sector expertise in the design and build of the most technically complex sections of the Inland Rail track, between Gowrie and Kagaru in Queensland.