The Inland Rail has been a long time coming for the Darling Downs region but now that the project is a reality, businesses need to be ready to make the most of the opportunities it has to offer.
This major project is expected to deliver an estimated 2300 new jobs in the Darling Downs region and with the Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC) committed to using local suppliers and labour where possible it provides local businesses with opportunities.
"ARTC plays a critical role in the transport supply chain and in the overall economic development of Australia and we want to encourage local companies to seize the opportunity to get on board," said Rob McNamara, NS2G Project Director for ARTC Inland Rail.
“Australia’s existing freight and logistic network is struggling to cope with the demands already placed on it let alone the added pressures that’s expected in the years ahead,” Mr McNamara said.
Mr McNamara said the predictions have Australia’s population growing by 400,000 people a year.
“That’s a lot of extra consumers who will expect the shelves of their favourite shops and supermarkets to be filled with the products and brands they enjoy each and every day,” he said.
“The last disruptive development in logistics in Australia was the invention of the sea container. Inland Rail will be the next, it will transform how we move goods around this country. It will create the spine for goods to be moved between Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide and Perth in a cost-efficient manner like we have never witnessed before and will boost economic development in our regions,” he said.
The 1700km Inland Rail project is moving ahead with ground-breaking geotechnical work underway for one of the most technically complex segments of the project.
The Gowrie to Kagaru section of Inland Rail of about 130km will require 8.5km of tunnels to be built through the Toowoomba, Teviot and Liverpool ranges to reduce travel times and increase operating efficiencies.
ARTC has awarded a $23 million contract to Golder Associates to undertake these comprehensive geotechnical studies to optimise tunnel designs.
This detailed work also includes drilling the deepest borehole for the project in Queensland – estimated to be 280 metres – to gather the necessary rock and earth samples.
Mr McCormack said this work will provide vital information for the companies preparing bids to win the Public Private Partnership (PPP) contract for the Gowrie to Kagaru section of the Inland Rail.
“An estimated $10 per tonne freight saving, with faster and more efficient movement of farm produce from paddock to cities, is just one of the many exciting benefits of the Inland Rail which this government is delivering.”
“Inland Rail will create over 7000 direct and indirect jobs here in Queensland and contribute $7 billion to the Gross State Product so it’s critical we get it right and that’s something this government knows is important to the local community.”
CEO of the Toowoomba and Surat Basin Enterprise, Ali Davenport, said the Inland Rail project brings plenty of opportunity to the Darling Downs region so we have to be ready to take advantage of this.
“With over 300 people in attendance at our last Enterprise Evening in November it certainly was great to see so many businesses engaged with the idea that the Inland Rail project offers so many benefits for our region, not just at the project completion but through the entire lifespan of the project,” Ms Davenport said.