THROUGH the Interface Improvement Program the federal government is supporting local organisations and individuals to put forward their ideas on how to improve the connections to Inland Rail and drive supply chain productivity from the 1,700km freight rail line.

Supply chain managers, producers, local and state governments, local businesses, community representatives and freight and train operators are encouraged to put forward projects for investigation under the $44m program.

A CSIRO pilot study from earlier this year demonstrated Inland Rail will bring average costs savings of $76 per tonne for key agricultural products.

Expressions of interest for the first round of business cases under the program close on 31 October and interested parties are urged to submit their ideas to the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Cities and Regional Development.

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Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack is urging local businesses to come forward with their ideas about how best to connect with Inland Rail.

“Inland Rail will create opportunities for towns to connect to cities and for small business to connect to broader markets through the national freight network. It is those connections to the broader network that will grow regions and build resilience in our communities,” Mr McCormack said.

He said the Australian Government has invested up to $9.3bn in the construction of Inland Rail and is committed to maximising the returns for industries, cities and regional towns.

“Our government believes in this program because we believe in regional Australia. We want to see thriving and vibrant communities making the most of Inland Rail and the transformational opportunities it will deliver to this nation,” Mr McCormack said.

Project ideas submitted via the EOI will be assessed against the program principles and criteria.

Those projects found suitable will be matched with a service provider funded by the Australian government under the program.

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