Inland Rail is set to boost the Gross Regional Product of regional communities across Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland by up to $13.3 billion over the next 50 years, according to a new report released by the Federal Government.
An in-depth study from EY has found the potential for industry investment along the rail line to generate billions in added value over the first 50 years of operation.
Deputy Prime Minister and Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Minister Michael McCormack welcomed the report as further proof of Inland Rail’s long-term contribution to the growth of regional Australia.
“This new EY report identifies the benefit to Gross Regional Product along the alignment could be up to $13.3 billion over the next 50 years. That is massive for regional Australia and builds on the 16,000 jobs and $16 billion economic boost generated during construction and operation,” he said.
“What the EY report is assessing is the additional benefit to communities from the opportunities that arise for local businesses and people from the completion of Inland Rail.
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An example McCormack uses is a cereal manufacturer whose freight costs drop by 30 per cent allowing the employment of additional staff or expanding its regional processing to take advantage of Inland Rail’s lower cost and greater capacity and connectivity.
“These investments could support an additional 14,000-16,000 job years in its first decade of operation — that’s 1600 people working full time for 10 years thanks to Inland Rail,” he said.
“With Inland Rail, our regional communities are primed to take advantage of the manufacturing, packing facilities, meat processing plants, regional airports and distribution centres that will establish and expand around the rail line.
“The benefits of this project are going to be felt across generations. Right now, young people from regional areas are directly benefiting from working on Inland Rail’s construction including the 656 locals who have worked on the project in the Parkes region and the more than $75 million spent with local businesses.”
Finance Minister Mathias Cormann said the report was further demonstration of the significant economic contribution Inland Rail would make across regional Australia.
“This work again shows how Inland Rail is helping drive increased investment, growth and more jobs across regional Australia now and well into the future,” Cormann said.
“Inland Rail is not only a major freight line which massively expands our trading infrastructure. It will also continue to generate significant investment opportunities across the many regional communities it touches.
“From the Parkes logistics hub to Narrabri’s plans for an inland port and industrial precincts in Toowoomba and Wodonga, the first wave of developments are taking shape. We are very confident that many other regional towns in and around the Inland Rail corridor will secure further significant investment, development and job creation opportunities for their towns on the back of this exciting project.”