May 25, 2017

Inland rail will make its $8 billion back, government says

Contradicting earlier reports, the government now says the proposed inland rail line will make back all of the whopping $8.4 billion that will be spent on a line through inland NSW.

Bernard Keane — Politics editor

Bernard Keane

Politics editor

Despite an extensive 2015 study concluding that the inland rail line would never make its money back, the department responsible now says the line will make back its cost, therefore justifying its funding being treated as an investment.

The government committed more than $8 billion in equity funding to the construction (by the Australian Rail Track Corporation, which owns or leases all interstate or regional rail lines) of a freight line from Melbourne through inland New South Wales to Toowoomba and then onward to south of Brisbane, where it will connect to the existing Brisbane line. In addition, more than $1 billion has been spent via grants by this and the previous Labor government on the line and the Australian Rail Track Corporation will spend an unspecified, borrowed sum to build it, bringing the total cost to more than $10 billion -- although Treasury has flagged that the project is at risk of a cost blowout.

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10 thoughts on “Inland rail will make its $8 billion back, government says

  1. Dog's Breakfast

    If it got a whole lot of trucks off the Hume, New England and Pacific Highways this thing could be a boon for the eastern states, but not pay its way in an economic sense.

    But I suspect that is not the point of the rail line, and will be fought by the truckers while there is breath in their lungs.

    1. klewso

      There’s an awful lot of pork riding on this deal.
      Remember that side-show of Jethro, Cash and Turbott for the benefit of truck owners just over 12 months ago – to abolish the Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal that set (employee) truck drivers’ minimum pay rates – now they want to do this?
      “What a friend we have in Malcolm ….”

    2. Gloria

      It has nothing to do with the Hume, Pacific and New England. It duplicates the Newell Highway, which has plenty of capacity and would still be a faster route than inland rail.
      A better investment would be upgrading the Newell Highway with bypasses of major towns like Shepparton, Forbes, Parkes, Dubbo, Narrabri and Moree (Toowoomba is already getting a bypass); as well as improvements to the alignment around Coonabarabran and general safety upgrades. Fraction of the cost. More benefits than inland rail. Probably more pork than rail because it gets trucks out of residential areas of the towns, too.

  2. zut alors

    Despite the Rudd NBN demonstrating it would return its INVESTED billions the LNP didn’t warm to it. In fact Turnbull eviscerated a project which would have been worth something – as opposed to the current NBN which needs to be re-done to allow Oz to participate in the 21st century.

    Historically, have our governments ever got rail right?

    1. Dog's Breakfast

      Good question Zut. Rail has been a debacle since the first tracks were laid in Australia. How many different gauges do we have???

      1. zut alors

        Possibly we can count them on two hands, Dogs.

  3. AR

    The simplest, most equitable and poll topingly popular way for the Inland rail to be a success is to charge every truck carrying a container the real cost of road destruction shunted onto all other road users.
    And no, current charges don’t come within a B-Double airhorn blast of meeting a fraction of the costs, in blood & treasure inflicted on the community.
    Fortunately, I looked at the other comments and see DB & Klewi made the same point.
    I’ll assume, to be charitable, that Gloria has trucking interests in the family.

  4. Flynn

    Is it a ever a good idea to treat some infrastructure projects as a loss-leading exercise like the supermarkets do with bread and milk to drive other activity? Or would that be like shooting pork in a barrel?

  5. Richard

    Perhaps the best way to get this built, on time and budget, is to get the Chinese and Japanese to build it. Certainly no “mates”. That would be another debacle to add to the mountain of debacles that is grubbiment business writ large.

  6. Don Willoughby

    Yadda,yadda,yadda. I guess you have to fill the paper. It is a pointless debate because as you have already observed, the $8 B will never be spent. It is just a headline for a budget.

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