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Urban rail news in brief - July 2015
Inland rail a trifecta for Toowoomba region: mayor
THE proposed inland railway between Brisbane and Melbourne required urgent review or risked becoming a piecemeal solution that could cripple future competitiveness, one of Australia's most respected engineers claimed.
Former Thiess chairman Martin Albrecht AC has urged the federal government to open up the inland rail project to a competitive Public Private Partnership (PPP) process as soon as possible.
He said a PPP approach to the vital east coast transport link would drive innovation and minimise costs to taxpayers and government, which faced a multi-billion dollar funding gap for the project.
The long-time Queensland business leader will be a key speaker at this week's important Transport and Logistics Symposium in Toowoomba.
The symposium will bring together leading experts and decision makers on future infrastructure development.
Mr Albrecht is expected to tell the symposium that the soon-to-be completed Inland Rail Implementation Group report by former Deputy Prime Minister John Anderson must consider a competitive PPP process as an alternative way forward for a project that had been on the public agenda for decades.
"A decision on the implementation of inland rail is imminent and it would be a tragedy for Australia if we do not deliver the best economic and engineering solution for a nation-building project that will stand for 100 years," he said.
"Failure to do so would cripple our ability to harness the 21st century, integrated supply chain we need to be competitive in the Asian century and risk losing potentially enormous productivity benefits.
"The private sector has an appetite for infrastructure investment and our view is that the private sector is best placed to largely fund and build large infrastructure.
"The private sector brings innovation and experience to large infrastructure projects - grown out of international competitiveness."
Mr Albrecht cited Toowoomba's second range crossing as a recent example of an important infrastructure project opened up to private sector competition through a PPP process and praised the Queensland and Australian governments for their approach.
This article first appeared on www.thechronicle.com.au
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