Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC) has issued a registration of interest (RoI) to form a public-private partnership (PPP) to build a section of Inland Rail in Queensland.
The planned Inland Rail PPP section will run from Gowrie near Toowoomba to Kagaru near Brisbane.
Once built, Inland Rail project is expected to contribute A$7.3bn ($5.1bn) in gross state product to Queensland during construction and in the first 50 years of operation.
The project is also expected to create 7,000 new jobs in Queensland during peak construction, with nearly 190 people already started working in Brisbane, including 40 on the PPP section.
With the new RoI, ARTC seeks to engage private sector entities in the design, construction, finance and maintenance of Inland Rail’s PPP section.
ARTC CEO Richard Wankmuller said: “The PPP enables ARTC to access major Australian and multi-national builders and engineers to harness innovative design solutions and more efficient construction methodologies.
“This is a programme of national significance and ARTC is seeking a partner to deliver the most technically challenging section comprising approximately 130km of dual gauge rail, significant earthworks and complicated tunnels and bridges through the Toowoomba, Little Liverpool and Teviot ranges.”
The RoI was issued in line with the latest market practices for large infrastructure projects such as Melbourne Metro and Cross River Rail PPP.
Wankmuller further added: “The RoI process allows ARTC to confirm the likely bidding field for the PPP while also signalling to the market that we are making progress on the procurement process ahead of the formal expressions of interest process in early 2019.
“This will allow those companies interested in the project to progress discussions with contractors, financiers, and advisers.”
In addition, the RoI is set to result in a planned market sounding process in the last quarter of this year.
Results from the market sounding process are expected to help ARTC to develop its procurement approach.