The Government recognises the benefits of transporting freight by rail and has committed to invest around $7.4 billion between 2008–09 and 2013–14 to improve and expand Australia's passenger and freight rail infrastructure.
A competitive, safe and reliable rail network—both within and between our major urban communities—is critical to lifting national productivity, curbing the escalating cost of traffic congestion and tackling climate change by contributing to reducing carbon pollution.
The Government is investing:
- Over $1 billion towards projects on the interstate freight network through the Nation Building Program. Details of these projects can be found through the Nation Building Program website project search tool.
- $3.5 billion in public transport and ports infrastructure through the Building Australia Fund.
- $150 million towards the installation of new boom gates and other active safety measures at some 300 high risk rail crossings under the Boom Gates for Rail Crossings Program.
- $2.2 billion in equity injections into the Australian Government owned Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC) for a program of projects as part of the Government's Economic Stimulus Plan and Rail Productivity Improvement Package. Details of these projects can be found through the Nation Building Program website project search tool.
Addressing Sydney's Freight Rail Bottleneck
The Australian Government is investing heavily to improve the flow of freight through Sydney. In conjunction with the NSW Government and Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC), over $2 billion is being spent to free up movement of freight by rail to and from Port Botany and on the Northern Sydney Freight Corridor. The Australian Government's investment in these initiatives is part of its over $4.8 billion program of works on the Australian freight rail network.
As part of these investments, ARTC has spent almost $1 billion to separate freight and passenger trains by building a 36 kilometre dedicated freight line in south west Sydney between Sefton and Macarthur. The new Southern Sydney Freight Line commenced rail operations on 21 January 2013. Further information on the Southern Sydney Freight Line can be found at ARTC's website.
Together these investments will realise important benefits for the Sydney metropolitan rail network and interstate freight to improve national productivity.
- Factsheet—Sydney's Freight Rail Bottleneck [PDF: 1164 KB] 
Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC)
With the agreement of mainland state governments, the Australian Government established ARTC in 1998 to manage and develop Australia's interstate track infrastructure as a single entity. This is achieved through ownership or long term leases of the interstate track. ARTC currently owns or leases interstate track from Kalgoorlie to Acacia Ridge in QLD.
ARTC is a public company whose shares are wholly owned by the Australian Government and operates the interstate freight rail track on a commercially sustainable basis. It is financed by a mix of fees charged to commercial operators to access the track that it maintains, revenue received from maintenance contracts, Australian Government equity, commercial borrowings and direct grants from the Australian Government.
Details of ARTC's current investment program can be found on the ARTC website.
Moorebank Intermodal Freight Terminal
The Australian Government is facilitating the delivery of a major intermodal facility at Moorebank to provide a rail ‘port shuttle’ between Port Botany and the south west of Sydney, as well as warehousing and a separate terminal for interstate freight.
The port shuttle terminal, expected to commence operations from 2017, will have capacity for 1.2 million containers, vastly improving efficiency and productivity while relieving congestion on Sydney's roads. Additional capacity for 500,000 containers will become available at a later stage when the interstate freight terminal commences operation.
The Moorebank Intermodal Company has been formally established. The Chair and Directors that will have stewardship of this commercially-run Government Business Enterprise were appointed in December 2012. The Moorebank Intermodal Company will act as a landlord and undertake an open and transparent competitive tender for the development and operation of the site. The private sector will design, build and operate the site as a common user intermodal terminal.
The project will boost productivity and improve transport links in Australia's biggest city. It will enable freight travelling through Sydney to and from Port Botany to use rail instead of the road network, providing cheaper and more efficient freight and relief for commuters stuck in traffic. The project will also provide a jobs boost for south western Sydney.
The interstate terminal will take pressure off rural and regional roads and build on the Australian Government's over $4.8 billion investment in the Australian freight rail network. Together, these investments help make rail freight a real competitor to road freight and benefit everyone in the national supply chain who needs to move goods.
The Australian Government will fund the relocation of the Moorebank Defence Units to make available a 220 hectare site for the project to provide for the intermodal terminal facilities required now and into the future. In doing so, Defence capability and operational preparedness will also be enhanced through the development of a modern, purpose-built facility at Holsworthy Barracks.
The total benefits of the project have been estimated at $10 billion. These include:
- Once up and running, the IMT could remove 1.2 million trucks each year from Sydney's roads from 2020—that's equivalent to 3300 trucks per day, relieving widespread traffic congestion associated with freight movements to and from Port Botany.
- Faster freight transport and reduced costs to business.
- Reduced fuel use and diesel emissions.
- 1650 full time jobs during construction of the port shuttle terminal and a further 975 jobs during construction of the interstate terminal, with 1700 ongoing jobs in the region once the facility and associated warehouses are open.
This investment demonstrates the Australian Government's determination to invest in strategic infrastructure. Projects like Moorebank link Australia's freight networks and our ports, drive productivity, improve our logistics industries, and create long term efficiencies that will benefit our cities and our economy into the future.
Further details of the Moorebank Intermodal Terminal project can be found on the Moorebank Intermodal Terminal Project website.