Inland Rail Workshops Update
Australia’s Inland Rail infrastructure project will see investment of around $10 billion over 10 years in building and upgrading rail lines connecting Melbourne and Brisbane. It’s a huge project, which the government expects to have a significant impact on slowing growth in road freight volumes and on the inland communities along the route in Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland.
The RAI has been working with the Commonwealth Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Cities and Regional Development on tools to help regional communities understand the impact the project will have on them, and how they might maximize that impact through strategy and partnerships.
RAI staff Amanda Barwick, Hayley Achurch, Anita Crisp and Kim Houghton joined Departmental staff on a roadshow visiting 9 places in 9 days in early October, for the first time taking our analysis of trends and opportunities out to some of the smaller communities along the route.
The RAI team prepared tailored assessments for each place covering economic and social trends, highlighting important issues that emerged from our analysis that regional leaders should be considering.
This analysis put the Inland Rail project in the context of wider economic and social change impacting on these communities, encouraging regional leaders to be creative about ways in which the infrastructure investment opportunity could be used to address these bigger challenges.
Departmental staff announced a new grants program (the Inland Rail Interface Improvement Program) which will provide business case development expertise to advance eligible projects along the rail route.
The response was great, with lively and often provocative discussions taking place in Beaudesert, Gatton, Pittsworth, Croppa Creek, Baradine, Benalla, Wagga Wagga, Forbes and Narromine.
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