Inland rail line told to speed up

The Australian Government should invest more funds and start building the Melbourne to Brisbane Rail Line, according to the Local Government and Shires Associations of NSW (LGSA).

Local Government Association of NSW president Keith Rhoades said restoring existing rail infrastructure and investing in new projects like the Melbourne to Brisbane Inland Rail corridor will improve the economic sustainability of regional NSW and reduce the adverse affects on local road networks by freight vehicles.

“The Inland Rail Line could also stimulate other rail traffic on nearby rail lines, many of which are under the threat of closure,” Mr Rhoades said.

Mr Rhoades said these closures would force additional heavy vehicle movements onto adjacent local road networks and “impact on the growth and prosperity of local communities”.

He said NSW councils can not keep up with the road and infrastructure works required of them and continuing to move freight along these roads will contribute further to their deterioration at current increasing levels.

Shires Association President Ray Donald said rail is a “vital component” of the transport network in rural and regional areas of NSW and is the most appropriate form of transport for bulk freight products.

“Councils are responsible for around 90 per cent of the NSW road network, and with freight movement expected to double by 2030, the better option is to shift much of the freight task off our roads and start using rail as an alternate means,” Mr Donald said.

He said the current rail freight route from Melbourne to Brisbane via Sydney is very congested, transporting nearly 30 per cent of interstate freight.

“The $4.7 billion Inland Rail project clearly has benefits for our country and communities,” Mr Donald said.

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