Infrastructure Australia has concluded its independent evaluation of the Australian Rail Track Corporation’s (ARTC) current business case for the North East Rail Line upgrade and has determined it will not include the project on the Infrastructure Priority List at this stage.
Chief Executive of Infrastructure Australia, Romilly Madew, explained that the conclusion reached by the independent advisor comes only after a rigorous assessment process.
“We recognise the importance of good-quality regional rail transport to give people genuine travel choices and equitable service levels,” Ms Madew said.
“We know compared to other regional Victorian passenger lines, there is relatively poor punctuality, and reliability on the North East Rail Line. However, based on the current evidence available, the cost of the project would significantly outweigh its benefits.”
The proponent for the proposed upgrade of the 316 km rail line that connects Melbourne to Albury is solely ARTC. Infrastructure Australia regularly assesses business cases for nationally significant projects as part its role as an independent advisor to governments and Ms Madew said they would welcome a revised business case from ARTC.
Given the importance of rail in serving Australia’s regional communities, Infrastructure Australia recommends the proponent explores alternative options, possibly with faster and more frequent services, which would achieve a better balance of the expected costs and benefits.