This article is a response to the opinion piece in The Australian by Darren Chester, ‘Inland rail could transform freight transport in under a decade.’

Darren Chester has accurately articulated the dire consequences for our nation if government neglects the necessity to proceed with a direct rail link between Melbourne and Brisbane.

However, we also need to upgrade and bullet proof an archaic rail link that connects Melbourne and Sydney to Adelaide and Perth. This link is often out of service due to climatic events. This effects business, the economy and delivery time-frames and forces more product to be delivered reliably via road. The reality is Australia needs to upgrade in totality the entire rail network for both freight and public usage.

We are at a juncture as a nation where an early 19th century rail network needs to cater for the modern digital era and economy. China, Japan and many other countries have developed rail networks to cope with the demands of 2016, the 21st century and beyond. It is time for Australia to invest and to become once again a global leader. The Melbourne to Brisbane rail link is the start, not the end of the infrastructure changes required.

However, this cannot be done at the expense of owner drivers and transport companies that have built up their business’ and reputations based on fast and efficient delivery of freight nationally. Consideration and time must be given to these companies to adapt to and utilise a changed rail infrastructure that delivers increased speed and reliability for the entire market.

Quite clearly, the cost of this infrastructure is exorbitant, however it is a necessary cost to ensure Australia’s long term prosperity. It will create a real positive change for infrastructure, business and the economy in Australia.

 The article this piece responds to can be found here.