An Australian Government Initiative

Regional Development Australia

Melbourne to Brisbane Inland Rail—A once in a generation project connecting regional Australia with global markets

29 June 2017

In the 2017-18 Federal Budget, the Australian Government committed to the full delivery of Inland Rail with an additional $8.4 billion equity injection in the Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC).

Inland Rail will be delivered by the Australian Government through the ARTC and it will utilise an innovative Public Private Partnership (PPP) funding arrangement for the design, finance, build and maintenance of the most technically complex sections, such as Toowoomba to Kagaru (Brisbane). This 126km section of the rail line includes the construction of approximately 8.9 km of tunnels through the Toowoomba Range. Under the PPP delivery arrangement, the private sector will design, build, finance and maintain this section of the railway.

This 1700km freight rail line will complete the spine of the national freight rail network between Melbourne and Brisbane. It will utilise 1200km of existing rail corridor and will involve the construction of 500km of new track. Track works will start in 2017, and based on the 10-year delivery schedule developed in 2015, the first train is expected to operate in 2024-25.

Once complete this rail infrastructure will provide a road competitive service that will see freight delivered from Melbourne to Brisbane, via regional Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland, in less than 24 hours with reliability, pricing and availability that is equal to or better than road.

This project is a strategic investment in Australia's infrastructure future, providing capacity to serve the freight market for the next century. Inland Rail will be an important contributor to national productivity by reducing freight transport costs between Melbourne and Brisbane, improving service standards and moving freight transport off the congested road network.

The delivery of Inland Rail will have a range of benefits for Australia. It is expected to increase Australia's GDP by $16 billion over the period of construction and the next 50 years of operation, creating up to 16,000 direct and indirect jobs at the peak of construction. It is projected that 700 permanent jobs will remain once Inland Rail is operational.

Inland Rail will provide an alternate connection for regional and farming areas to access ports and supply chain networks via regional hubs like Parkes in New South Wales. Parkes is already a major transport centre and is centrally located with the ability to reach over 80% of the Australian population overnight. Inland Rail will be leveraging existing connections including the NSW Country Regional Network, to provide connections to the ports of Melbourne, Port Kembla, Sydney, Newcastle, Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth.

As the route is further refined, consultation with local impacted communities will continue through the detailed design, Environmental Impact Assessments and construction phases.

For more information visit or

Map of Australia's national rail networks

A detailed map of the proposed Inland Rail alignment is available on the website.