TWO new leaders have been appointed to the Australian Rail Track Corporation board following reported concerns about the governance of the Inland Rail project.

The Australian government on Monday (13 February) announced Peter Duncan as the new chair of ARTC and Collette Burke as a non-executive director. Both appointments are three-year terms.

Mr Duncan replaces Warren Truss, who stepped down as chair of the ARTC board on 30 November last year.

The government said these appointments follow the recent independent review of the Inland Rail project conducted by Kerry Schott.

It said Dr Shott’s report, which has been provided to the government, reveals “significant concerns” about the governance and delivery of the Inland Rail.

The government said it intends to release the report and the government’s response to its recommendations once it has been fully considered.

It said the appointments of Mr Duncan and Dr Burke are an important step in addressing the current “capability gaps” of the board.

Infrastructure, transport, regional development and local government minister Catherine King said Mr Duncan’s experience would be “invaluable” to guiding ARTC through the coming years.  

“Mr Duncan brings critical experience in governance and risk management, infrastructure and transport to the ARTC board,” she said.

“Dr Burke’s extensive experience in engineering and infrastructure will strengthen the board’s ability to oversee ARTC’s operations, including its network maintenance regime, efforts to improve network resilience and in construction of new sections of the Interstate Network, including Inland Rail.”

Finance minister Senator Katy Gallagher also welcomed Mr Duncan’s appointment to the ARTC board.

“His extensive experience in corporate governance and infrastructure development will help guide the future development of Australia’s interstate freight rail network and the delivery of Inland Rail,” she said.

“With deep expertise in engineering and a detailed understanding of the rail industry, Dr Burke’s appointment to the ARTC board will be vital in supporting the board’s oversight of the Inland Rail program and the delivery of other government-funded rail infrastructure projects.”

The government said it recognises the importance of the ARTC board having strong leadership and the experience and capability to manage the company’s operations, including the Interstate Network and government-funded infrastructure projects.

Mr Duncan has more than 40 years’ experience in government and infrastructure, working at local, state and national levels.

He is the current chair of WaterNSW, deputy chair and commissioner of the NSW Independent Planning Commission and a board member of the Office of Projects Victoria.

Mr Duncan is a former chief executive of NSW Roads and Maritime Services, director-general of the NSW Department of Services Technology and Administration, and managing director of Forests NSW.

And Dr Burke is an engineer with over 25 years’ experience in the infrastructure construction sector.

She was the inaugural Victorian chief engineer and has a strong understanding of the rail industry, according to the government

She also previously held various senior roles with Leighton Contractors and management positions with Thiess John Holland.

Dr Burke is a Non-Executive Director of Marinus Link Pty Ltd and VicTrack.