Inland rail good for Queensland: RACQ

RACQ has thrown its support behind a potential inland rail network which could improve connectivity for regional Queensland industries with other States and make roads safer.

As reported by ABC Online, the Federal Government was expected to allocate more than $1 billion to the construction of an inland rail network which could link Brisbane and Melbourne, when it delivered its Budget next month.

RACQ spokesperson Renee Smith said the Club supported construction of rail between Toowoomba and Melbourne as the business case had identified positives for motorists and industry alike.

“Inland rail between Toowoomba and Melbourne would be great for our State, taking vehicles off our roads and putting freight onto rail – it would mean goods could be moved from Queensland to Victoria in less than a day,” Ms Smith said.

“We’d like to see this get off the ground as soon as possible because getting heavy cargo off the roads will make them safer and protect the infrastructure from further damage.”

While the business case for the inland rail network between Toowoomba and Melbourne has been published, Ms Smith said more information was required before the benefits of rail between the Brisbane to Toowoomba link could be determined.

Ms Smith said while the case for inland rail between Toowoomba and Melbourne was clear, further investigations should be done on whether a Toowoomba to Brisbane link or a Toowoomba to Gladstone link was preferred.

“Construction of the Toowoomba Second Range Crossing upgrades the freight link between Brisbane and Toowoomba so, at this stage, it’s not clear that another rail line is required to the Port of Brisbane,” she said.

Speaking to ABC Online, Infrastructure Minister Darren Chester said the Government was committed to delivering the inland rail project, but couldn’t confirm how much would be allocated through the Budget.

“I will not speculate on what is in the budget, but what I will say is that the inland rail project is a critically important piece of infrastructure that the Turnbull-Joyce Government is committed to building,” he said.

“The Prime Minister’s already indicated that he wants construction to start in 2017 and that will occur.

“We have recognised [inland rail] will change lives, it will save lives.”