Investing in Freight Rail for the 21st Century

Media Release


13 May 2014

Joint release with:

Warren Truss

Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development

The Abbott Government is delivering on its Economic Action Strategy to build a stronger economy, increase productivity and create more jobs by developing an efficient national freight rail network.

The Budget includes targeted investments to modernise the national rail network and links to ports. 

Our plan will increase the productive capacity of Australia's rail freight network meaning primary producers and major exporters will have greater access to key domestic and international markets through the easier passage of freight and other products.

The Government's freight rail plan honours the commitment we made to the Australian people.

Our plan for better freight rail includes a number of priority projects:

  • Delivering the Inland Railway from Melbourne to Brisbane over the next decade which will create a more efficient, competitive national rail network and get more trucks off our interstate highways.

    $300 million has been allocated for pre-construction works. The Southern Freight Rail Corridor in Brisbane, and sections between Narrabri and North Star, as well as Parkes and Narromine, are being assessed as locations to fast-track early works.

    The Government is expected to consider further advice on the implementation of the Inland Railway towards the end of 2014.

    The Government is also investigating the feasibility of a new dedicated 24 hour freight link to the Port in Brisbane as part of the Inland Railway project.
  • The Government has committed $50 million to install Advanced Train Management System technology between Port Augusta and Whyalla in South Australia. This technology has great potential to improve capacity, efficiency, reliability and safety on the national rail network.
  • $75 million will be provided from June 2014 for the next stage of upgrades to the Port Botany Rail Line in Sydney. These upgrades will improve the supply chain to the Moorebank Intermodal Terminal, as well as other local and regional markets.
  • $38 million has been committed to the Melbourne Metropolitan Intermodal System.
  • From 2014–15 the Government will provide $119.6 million over five years to the Tasmanian Freight Rail Revitalisation Programme which will reduce the operational costs of freight movements by providing additional rail capacity, improved reliability and reduced transit times.
  • In Perth, work is almost completed on the North Quay Rail Terminal at Fremantle, meaning freight can be more easily moved through metropolitan Perth to Kewdale.

Moving more freight onto rail will reduce road congestion and make our highways safer. It will also encourage jobs growth in the agricultural, transport and export sectors.

The Abbott Government is delivering on its commitment to build a strong, prosperous economy for a safe, secure Australia.