Inland Rail independent review announced

The Australian Government has today announced the appointment of Dr Kerry Schott AO to lead an independent review into the Inland Rail project.

This delivers on the Australian Government’s election commitment to take a close look at the planning, governance and delivery of Inland Rail to help get this nationally important project back on track.

The Coalition left Inland Rail in a mess. We inherited a project over budget, behind schedule and with no plan for where it will start or end.

The review will consider the process for selecting the Inland Rail route, including stakeholder consultation, and assess the project’s scope, schedule and cost. 

The review will also assess options for the new Inland Rail intermodal terminals to be built in Melbourne and Brisbane, and improving rail links to the ports in these cities.

The review will have regard to existing studies, such as the Toowoomba to Gladstone Inland Rail Extension Business Case.

Inland Rail is an important part of building additional capability and capacity to increase the resilience of Australia’s freight supply chain and meet our growing freight task, which is forecast to grow by up to 35 per cent by 2040.

Moving freight off the roads and on to rail will help with the task of decarbonising while helping regional cities grow by providing more opportunities for jobs and industries.

The independent review is necessary because Inland Rail is too important to stuff up.

The independent review is expected to be completed by early 2023. The Government intends to release the findings of the review once it has an opportunity to consider them. The review’s Terms of Reference are set out below.

The Australian Government has today also released the Final Report of the Independent International Panel of Experts for Flood Studies (the Panel) of Inland Rail in Queensland.

The Australian Government welcomes the findings of the Panel and will work with both the Queensland Government and ARTC to implement the Panel’s recommendations. The Final Report can be accessed at

Quotes attributable to Federal Minister for Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government Catherine King.

“We are delivering on our election commitment to undertake an independent review to get this nationally important project making progress again without further delays and with improved community consultation.”

“The review will give the Government a clear-eyed view on what the problems are and the way forward.”

“Dr Schott is a highly respected and trusted leader who brings a wealth of experience from both the business and government sectors to the role. She will conduct a thorough and independent review of Inland Rail and make recommendations to ensure this nationally significant project is successfully delivered.

“The Government welcomes the findings of the Panel and ARTC’s commitment to implement the report’s recommendations as it designs and delivers Inland Rail in Queensland.” 

Quotes attributable to Federal Minister for Finance, Senator Katy Gallagher:

“Inland Rail is supporting local jobs and growing Australian companies, with more than $2.7 billion in contracts being awarded to over 400 suppliers and businesses across the country.”

“The program has also provided work for more than 3,600 locals in the communities surrounding Parkes and Narromine, and further north in Moree which, in turn, has boosted these local economies.”

“It is important that we consider expert advice on critical issues of safety, delivery scope, cost and schedule as we look to deliver this significant investment in the national freight network.”

To find out more about the Review visit: .

Independent Review into the delivery of Inland Rail
Terms of Reference

The review will:

a) assess Australian Rail Track Corporation’s governance and program delivery approaches, including:

                            i.           the effectiveness of current governance arrangements for Inland Rail, including monitoring and reporting;

                            ii.           project management arrangements;

                            iii.          risk management practices; and

                            iv.          implementation of strategy;

b) consult with stakeholders across the freight sector to test the Inland Rail service offering and the importance of this to achieving the overall benefits of Inland Rail, including how it provides new capacity and resilience to support Australia’s national supply chain network, having regard to:

                            i.           urban congestion and future freight demand;

                            ii.           potential end points for the Inland Rail Service Offering in Melbourne;

                            iii.          potential end points for Inland Rail Service Offering in Brisbane, including Ebenezer, Kagaru, Bromelton, and/or Acacia Ridge; and

                            iv.          efficient linkages with freight infrastructure such as other freight rail networks, ports and intermodal hubs;

c) review the processes for selecting the Inland Rail route to confirm it is fit for purpose and has considered both impacts and potential broader economic benefits to regional economies and communities;

d) having regard to current market constraints and regulatory environment, assess Program scope, schedule and cost, including;

                            i.            a broader review of the infrastructure market;

                            ii.           review Program costs, contingencies and escalation;

                            iii.           review schedule assumptions, including timing for planning and environmental approvals, land acquisitions and contingencies;

                            iv.           options to optimise Program delivery to realise benefits earlier;

                            v.            the PPP for the Gowrie to Kagaru projects;

                            vi.           any related port connections;

                            vii.          potential intermodal terminals in Brisbane and Melbourne;

e) assess opportunities for enhancing community benefits along the route;

f) review ARTC’s engagement and consultation approach, including options to improve engagement with communities and other stakeholders along the route; and develop a pathway to consider community concerns with the alignment.

The review will have regard to existing studies, including but not limited to:

a) dedicated rail freight connections to ports in Brisbane and Melbourne;

b) the development of new intermodal terminals in Brisbane and Melbourne;

c) the extension of Inland Rail from Toowoomba to the Port of Gladstone; and

d) the South East Queensland Freight Demand Analysis and Modelling Study.