Nationals united behind Inland Rail at Wodonga meeting

Media Release

WT030/2015

05 February 2015

Holding its first Party Room meeting for 2015 in Wodonga, Victoria, today, The Nationals reaffirmed their fervent support for the Melbourne to Brisbane Inland Rail project. The line is part of ensuring the right infrastructure is in place to cater to the nation's growing freight task.

Nationals Leader, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development Warren Truss emphasised that 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.

“This project has been a signature policy for The Nationals and, in Coalition Government, we have committed to picking up the pieces after six years of Labor neglect.

“It is a priority for us in Government. We are making it happen with $300 million included in the Government's infrastructure programme to get construction underway.

“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. 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.

“It will boost national productivity, helping consumers through lower transport costs and supporting economic development along the corridor as a major fillip for agriculture, mining and other regional industries.

“This is strategic infrastructure investment for the future, providing capacity to serve the east coast freight market for the next half century and beyond.”