Independent specialist advisers will be engaged to undertake the AU$1.5m (£820,000) study, which is expected to be completed in the next 12 months.
The study will look into the feasibility of options for improved rail freight connections to the Port of Brisbane from Acacia Ridge. It will take into account current and future demand and existing infrastructure capacity.
Deputy prime minister and minister for infrastructure and transport Michael McCormack said freight connections with the Port of Brisbane were critical in supporting south-east Queensland’s continued economic growth and development. “Infrastructure Australia identified a dedicated rail freight line servicing the Port of Brisbane as a high priority initiative and this is one of the options which will be investigated as part of the study,” he said. “Inland Rail is a strategic investment in Australia’s infrastructure future and the Port of Brisbane study will examine the possibility of a dedicated freight link from the Port.
Significant analysis was undertaken as part of a business case, which found the existing line could continue to service the port until 2030. The new joint study will now assess a range of immediate and long-term options to ensure freight continues to move efficiently, said McCormack.
Queensland minister for transport and main roads Mark Bailey said in addition to the feasibility of improved rail freight connections to the Port, the study would also be looking at demand and existing infrastructure capacity. “Last year the Queensland Government announced it would fully fund and deliver the Cross River Rail Project and work has already started. Clearly, we need to understand what these projects will mean for the movement of rail freight,” he said. “I expect that freight flows may change as a result of these network-shaping projects and increased interactions with the suburban passenger network.”
The views of key stakeholders such as the Port of Brisbane, Brisbane City Council, Cross River Rail Delivery Authority, Queensland Rail and the Australian Rail Track Corporation will be sought as part of the study. The outcomes of the study will help to inform the need for a future business case and corridor protection, if required, added Bailey.