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Over 460 delegates participated in the 2019 Inland Rail Conference in Toowoomba on 21-22 August 2019, presented by the Australian Logistics Council (ALC) and Australasian Railway Association (ARA).
Participants explored multiple facets of this nationally-significant freight infrastructure project and set out the actions needed to ensure local communities, consumers, producers, freight operators and the Australian economy derive the full benefits of Inland Rail, both during the construction phase and once it is operational.
The Inland Rail project, a 1,700km railway line directly linking Brisbane to Melbourne will transform Australia’s freight networks, enhancing supply chain efficiency and safety, boosting the nation’s export competitiveness and unlocking regional development and employment opportunities for local communities.
With backing from Gold Sponsor, the ARTC Inland Rail Project, and supported by the Toowoomba Regional Council, the event heard from leading political figures, independent economic analysts and project executives, including:
ARA and ALC were also proud to announce the 2020 Inland Rail Conference will be held in Albury Wodonga, with the two-day conference to incorporate visits to Albury’s Nexus Industrial Precinct and Wodonga’s Logic Centre.
Through the presentations and a series of interactive discussion with expert panellists, this year's conference identified a number of key themes and priority actions that governments and industry must now work collaboratively to pursue:
Danny Broad, CEO of the Australasian Railway Association said, “The large number of mayors and councillors who attended the Inland Rail Conference provided delegates with a timely reminder that Inland rail will offer positive legacies broader than just an infrastructure project, including opportunities for regional growth and revitalisation for communities, businesses, partnerships, jobs, and prosperity.”
Upon signing a MOU with ARTC to develop the Inland Rail Skills Academy he also said “ARA welcomes ARTC’s commitment to create education, training, skills development and employment opportunities to support the Inland Rail project and we look forward to working to ensure the Academy is developing real training opportunities for local skilled labour in rail construction, operations and maintenance.”
Kirk Coningham, CEO, Australian Logistics Council said, “Once again, this industry-led conference has shown there is genuine excitement about the transformation Inland Rail will bring to our freight networks. As these two days showed, this enthusiasm is not limited to rail operators. It is shared by local communities, exporters and all forward-looking industry participants who understand the changing nature of the freight task.”
“Now is the time to leverage that enthusiasm by ensuring that all levels of government are working collaboratively with industry to make certain Inland Rail is a piece of freight infrastructure that delivers the efficiencies needed to meet changing consumer expectations and helps our exporters get their goods to market,” he said.
Richard Wankmuller, CEO, ARTC Inland Rail said, “This conference has seen a seismic conversation shift from 'will it happen?' to councils, businesses and farmers all thinking and asking about how they can collaborate to make the most of what we are creating. All parties now realise that Inland Rail is a reality and it will create a new economic direction for many of the communities along the alignment. This is a once-in-a-generation opportunity and it’s time to get on board.”
Attendees were deeply saddened during the conference to learn of the passing of former Deputy Prime Minister and passionate rail transport advocate, the Hon. Tim Fischer AC. Delegates paid tribute to his decades of service to the nation with a standing ovation.
ALC and the ARA thank all attendees, presenters, sponsors, exhibitors and the people of Toowoomba for helping to make the 2019 Inland Rail Conference such a success.
27 August 2019
This article first appeared on ara.net.au
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