Inland Rail - A new way forward

The Australian Government is getting on with implementing its response to the recommendations in Dr Kerry Schott AO’s report, The Delivery of Inland Rail: An Independent Review.

We are delivering on our commitment to set Inland Rail up for success by separating its governance and delivery arrangements from the Australian Rail Track Corporation’s (ARTC’s) day to day operations.

On 23 June 2023, the Government issued a new interim Statement of Expectations (SoE -attached) to ARTC. In it, the Government has reaffirmed its objectives and expectations for ARTC and the future delivery of Inland Rail.

In line with the Government’s response to Dr Schott’s review, ARTC is establishing a new subsidiary - Inland Rail Pty Ltd, which will govern the delivery of the Inland Rail.

The Australian Government is committed to ensuring Inland Rail Pty Ltd has the necessary expertise and independent oversight required to deliver on the Government’s objectives for Inland Rail.

Inland Rail Pty Ltd will have its own dedicated board of directors appointed by the ARTC. The six-member board, includes the Chair of ARTC as a non-executive director. The members of the new board have been chosen for their skills, qualifications, knowledge and experience, including in the delivery of nationally significant freight infrastructure projects. 

The board of Inland Rail Pty Ltd will be chaired by Mr Robert Rust, with Ms Louise Thurgood as the Deputy Chair

The three other board members are

  • Ms Erin Flaherty
  • Mr James Cain
  • Ms Vivienne King

Inland Rail is an important project to meet Australia’s growing freight requirements and will improve road safety and help to decarbonise the economy.

The Government is delivering on its commitment to get on with building Inland Rail, with a focus on completing the sections between Beveridge in Victoria and Parkes in NSW by 2027. When complete, the southern section of Inland Rail will increase resilience and improve supply chain productivity between Melbourne, Perth, Sydney, Newcastle, the Illawarra and Adelaide.

The Australian Government also wishes to thank Mr Mark Campbell for his leadership of ARTC over the last 3 years, following the announcement that he will be stepping down from his roles as Managing Director and CEO of ARTC at the end of July. Dr Kerry Schott AO, as Acting Chair of ARTC, has thanked Mr Campbell for his contribution to the company through a number of difficult years. We wish him well with his future endeavours.

Quotes attributable to Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government Minister Catherine King:

“We are making good on our commitment to act on the recommendations of the Independent Review of Inland Rail.

“The establishment of Inland Rail Pty Ltd and the updated Statement of Expectations, are examples of this Government getting on with the job to refresh the approach to delivering Inland Rail ensure it is adequately funded and resourced.

“I am confident in the direction provided by the Statement of Expectations and in the chosen Inland Rail Pty Ltd board members, who will bring valuable industry insights and expertise to ensure the Albanese Government delivers on its commitments to Inland Rail.”  

Quotes attributable to Finance Minister Katy Gallagher:

“The Government has established a dedicated subsidiary company with an experienced and skilled board of directors to ensure Inland Rail is appropriately managed.

The Government’s updated Statement of Expectations brings ARTC and Inland Rail in line with highest standards of governance, transparency and accountability for corporate and government-owned entities”.     

Inland Rail Pty Ltd Board Biographies

Mr Robert Rust brings strong experience in major projects in both the private and public sectors. He is currently Director of Infrastructure SA, Acting Chair of the EnergyCo NSW Advisory Committee, and Director of Reliance Rail and Ontoit Pty Ltd.

Ms Erin Flaherty is currently Chair of the National Intermodal Corporation (NIC), with over 40 years’ experience in both private and government sectors in law, rail and large infrastructure projects. Her appointment to the Inland Rail Pty Ltd board will facilitate the strong connections required between the Inland Rail program and the associated intermodal terminals development.

Ms Louise Thurgood brings significant infrastructure and rail experience as a non-executive Director of Sydney Metro and Silk Contract Logistics.

Mr James Cain, currently Chair of the Community Safety Building Authority Advisory Board brings board experience in the rail and transport sectors, including through previous positions with the Victoria Rail Track, Victorian Ports Corporation and Port of Hastings Corporation.

Ms Vivienne King, currently CEO of the WestGo Consortium, responsible for the bid to deliver Sydney Metro to Western Sydney Airport project, also brings senior management experience across rail and public transport infrastructure sectors.

Dr Kerry Schott AO rounds out the membership of the new board, taking up the position in her capacity of as the acting Chair of ARTC. Peter Duncan AM will replace Dr Schott on the Inland Rail Pty Ltd board when he resumes his role as ARTC Chair.