Expressions of Interest for the first round of business cases under the $44 million Inland Rail Interface Improvement Program are closing soon, with interested parties urged to submit proposals to the Department of Infrastructure by 31 October.
Infrastructure Minister Michael McCormack said the Inland Rail will create opportunities for towns to connect to cities, and for small business to connect to broader markets through the national freight network.
“The Australian Government has invested up to $9.3 billion in the construction of Inland Rail and we are committed to maximising the returns for our industries, cities and regional towns to benefit from the fast, reliable and joined-up freight network,” Mr. McCormack said.
“Through the Interface Improvement Program we are supporting local organisations and individuals to put forward their ideas on how to improve the connections to Inland Rail and drive supply chain productivity from the 1700 kilometre freight rail line.”
The Interface Improvement Program is designed to enable local communities, industry and government to identify and assess projects that could potentially increase and maximise the long-term benefit of Inland Rail’s connections to the national freight rail network.
Through the program, the Department of Infrastructure will allocate specialist service providers to work with eligible project proponents on the development and assessment of project proposals consistent with infrastructure best practice gateway assessment processes.
Mr. McCormack said project ideas submitted via the EOI will be assessed against program principals and criteria.
“Those projects found suitable will be matched with a service provider funded by the Australian Government under the program,” Mr. McCormack said.
Local Government Minister Mark Coulton said the Interface Improvement Program brings communities one-step closer to realising the freight efficiencies and national connectivity that Inland Rail will deliver to the regions.
“We know every town and supply chain is different, and a one-size-fits-all approach to connect communities to Inland Rail won’t work,” Mr. Coulton said.
“We are encouraging local people to come forward with innovative ideas, and are committed to testing value ideas through a rigorous business case process.”