The Inland Rail is a 1,700km freight rail line that will connect Melbourne and Brisbane via regional Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland. The project is being constructed by the Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC) on behalf of the Australian Government. On 29 November 2019, the Australian and Queensland governments signed a Bilateral Agreement for Inland Rail which will enable the delivery of the project in Queensland.
The Bilateral Agreement outlines the provisions and conditions for the construction of Inland Rail within Queensland and includes requirements for:
- a meaningful and rigorous consultation process including a requirement for ARTC to proactively resolve issues affecting land holders, greater focus on floodplain modelling, and design solutions
- a panel of independent international experts be established to advise and make recommendations to the Queensland and Australian governments on these matters.
Freight movement across Queensland is expected to double in the coming years, with the most rapid growth anticipated to be in South East Queensland.
Inland Rail will provide the potential for greater connectivity and increased rail freight volumes from southern and south-west Queensland, leveraging the benefits of the new Inland Rail infrastructure.
Inland Rail is a large and complex project. To better facilitate delivery, the program has been divided into 13 sub-projects, 5 of which are located in Queensland:
- New South Wales / Queensland Border to Gowrie
- Gowrie to Helidon
- Helidon to Calvert
- Calvert to Kagaru
To find out more about the proposed route and progress of each project visit the ARTC Inland Rail website.
Independent Inland Rail Review
On 7 October 2022, the Australian Government announced the appointment of Dr Kerry Schott AO to lead an independent review of the Inland Rail program.
The review considered:
- the process for selecting the Inland Rail route
- stakeholder consultation
- project governance, delivery, scope, schedule, and cost.
On 6 April 2023, the Australian Government released Dr Schott's report and provided its response to the report. The Australian Government agreed or agreed in-principle to all 19 recommendations.
The Queensland Government is currently reviewing Dr Schott's recommendations and the Australian Government response.
The Department of Transport and Main Roads role
The Queensland Government through the Department of Transport and Main Roads (TMR) is working collaboratively with the ARTC on environmental planning, the state's requirements including, the flood panel and future proofing the corridor for future upgrades, statutory approvals, maximising the benefits of Inland rail to Queensland businesses and communities, and land acquisition for the sections of Inland Rail in Queensland.
We are the acquiring authority for Queensland's section of Inland Rail and will manage the compulsory land acquisition process under the Queensland legislation set out in the Acquisition of Land Act 1967.
Compulsory land acquisition for the rail corridor in each section will not occur until the respective Environmental Impact Statement is final and until the Queensland Government is satisfied that genuine consultation with affected stakeholders has taken place.
Inland Rail – Associated Projects
Independent International Panel of Experts for Flood Studies
The Australian and Queensland governments, through TMR established an Independent International Panel of Experts for Flood Studies (the Panel) to provide assurance to the public that the flood models and reference designs developed by ARTC meet national guidelines and industry best practice.
The Panel has provided their Final Report to the Australian and Queensland governments. This report presents the outcomes of the Panel’s review of the flood models and reference designs developed by ARTC for the Queensland Border to Gowrie, Gowrie to Helidon, Helidon to Calvert and Calvert to Kagaru project sections.
Related studies and projects
Bilateral Agreement Rail Studies
Under the Bilateral Agreement, TMR and Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development, Communications and the Arts, are partnering to deliver the Bilateral Agreement Rail Studies program.
The program identified 4 projects for further investigation to support future population growth and leverage the opportunities provided by Inland Rail:
- South East Queensland Inland Rail Intermodal Terminal Business Case
- Port of Brisbane Rail Further Planning
- Toowoomba to Brisbane Passenger Rail Strategic Business Case
- Salisbury to Beaudesert Passenger Rail Business Case
The Australian and Queensland governments are also partnering to undertake a business case to determine the need, viability and timing of a possible extension of Inland Rail from Toowoomba to Gladstone.