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The report from a federal Senate inquiry for the Inland Rail has been pushed back yet again, making this the fourth time an extension has been granted for the handing down of the findings.
The inquiry titled Management of the Inland Rail project by the Australian Rail Track Corporation and the Commonwealth Government included terms of reference included financial arrangements of the project route planning and selection processes, connections with other freight infrastructure including ports and intermodal hubs, engagement on route alignment procurement and employment, urban and regional economic development opportunities, collaboration between governments, interaction with National Freight and Supply Chain Strategy, and any other related matters.
Original submissions for the inquiry closed on November 29, 2019, and the final report was initially expected to be handed down on September 30, 2020.
It was extended by the Senate on June 11, 2020 until November 11, 2020, with the Senate voting again on September 30, 2020 to extend it to February 11, 2021.
On February 5, 2021, the Senate granted an extension until May 13.
But on the day it was supposed to be handed down, the Senate granted a further extension of time until August 11, 2021.
The Inland Rail project is poised to run from Melbourne to Brisbane and cost $14.5 billion.
There has been calls throughout the project’s development to re-route the line from Toowoomba to go to Gladstone, especially after a report by the AEC Group showing this option could be $4 billion cheaper.
This article first appeared on www.thechronicle.com.au
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