Senator the Hon. Simon Birmingham
Minister for Finance
Leader of the Government in the Senate
Senator for South Australia

The Hon Barnaby Joyce MP
Deputy Prime Minister
Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development

Date: Tuesday, 15 March 2022

New modelling shows Inland Rail could cut freight transport costs by up to $213 million a year, resulting in huge savings for businesses and industries that use the line and further driving the growth of regional Australia.

CSIRO’s Inland Rail Supply Chain Mapping Project, released today, found that a shift from road to Inland Rail could significantly drive down the cost of transporting 22 million tonnes of freight annually.

The potential cost reductions cover more than 12,000 supply chains and 94 commodities, including coal, steel, grains, vehicles, horticulture and livestock.

Businesses relying on road-based supply chains will benefit most from the switch, profiting from the average transport saving of $80.77 per tonne ($179 million per annum). Savings will only increase as Australia’s freight task grows in the future.

Other projected savings for intermodal freight include an average:

  • $90 per tonne (44 per cent) reduction along the entire route from Melbourne and Brisbane;
  • $184 per tonne (47 per cent) reduction between Brisbane and Parkes, connecting to Perth;
  • $48 per tonne (22 per cent) reduction from Brisbane and connecting to Adelaide; and
  • $62 per tonne (31 per cent) reduction for regional intermodal freight to and from major metropolitan centres and ports.

The modelling projects a 40 per cent reduction in transport costs for freight travelling to Queensland, a 31 per cent drop for New South Wales, and a 37 per cent saving for Victoria.

With transport being a significant expense for Australian businesses and a deciding factor in market growth, the modelling shows the positive impact Inland Rail will have on our regional industries.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Barnaby Joyce said that’s why the Government is driving the project forward.

“Inland Rail gives us the greatest opportunity for boosting economic development in regional areas, which is why we are delivering the project as quickly as possible,” the Deputy Prime Minister said.

“Shifting freight from road to rail will drive down the cost of transporting goods and commodities to ports and better facilitate the sale of products, like coal, that underpin our standard of living.

“Reducing freight costs for businesses and industries along the route means they can expand and hire more Australians, helping regional economies grow into the future.

“With the enhancements that Inland Rail will bring to our national freight network, these savings will be felt by supply chains reaching as far west as Perth and all the way down to Tasmania.

“Our Government had the vision to deliver Inland Rail and this modelling further reinforces why we must continue on with the job for the benefit of all Australians.”

Finance Minister Senator Simon Birmingham said the access and connection to Inland Rail’s fast, reliable and cost-competitive freight services would drive value for industry right across the country, contributing to our Government’s goal of improving productivity and competitiveness.

“CSIRO’s modelling shows how Inland Rail could slash transport costs for more than 90 commodities across Australia,” Minister Birmingham said.

“This highlights the significance of building a national freight network that gives producers and businesses better access to domestic and international markets at competitive prices.

“Thanks to our Government’s $14.5 billion investment in Inland Rail we are on track to deliver the fast and reliable freight service Australia needs to back our resilient economy.”

Once fully operational, Inland Rail will take 200,000 trucks off the road each year, or 150 B-doubles for each train travelling between Melbourne and Brisbane.

Inland Rail is the largest transport infrastructure project in the Liberal and Nationals Government’s $110 billion infrastructure pipeline. At the peak of construction, it will support more than 21,500 jobs.

Once completed, it will connect every state to a standard gauge line for the first time in our history. Every Australian will benefit from the enhanced national freight capacity that Inland Rail will provide.

Access the Inland Rail Supply Chain Mapping Project here: