Dr Kerry Schott AO has been appointed by the Federal Government to lead an independent review into the Inland Rail project.
The purpose of the review is to take a close look at the planning, governance and delivery of Inland Rail and 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, according to Minister for Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government, Catherine King, is an important part of building additional capability and capacity to increase the resilience of Australia’s freight supply chain and meet the 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 reportedly help with the task of decarbonising while helping regional cities grow by providing more opportunities for jobs and industries.
The independent review is expected to be completed by early 2023.
The Australian Government has 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.
“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,” said King.
“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.”
Federal Minister for Finance, Katy Gallagher, said Inland Rail supports local jobs and growing businesses with more than $2.7 billion in contracts being awarded to more than 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,” she said.
“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.”