The Government of Victoria has signed a bilateral agreement with Australian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Michael McCormack to enrol for the Inland Rail project.
Victoria will now receive A$1.7bn ($1.3bn) under the Regional Rail Revival Programme to support upgrades to all regional passenger rail lines in Australia.
The upgrade works will form part of the Inland Rail project, which aims to build a new 1,700km freight rail line between Melbourne and Brisbane through Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland.
Inland Rail is expected to create 2,800 jobs in Victoria and decrease the transit time between Melbourne and Brisbane to less than 24 hours, while carrying 1,800m double-stacked freight containers.
Furthermore, it is estimated that the project will deliver approximately A$16bn ($12.33bn) to the Australian economy through the delivery phase and during the initial 50 years of its operation.
McCormack said: “I’m pleased to reach an agreement with Victoria, the first state to get behind Inland Rail, which will improve freight travel times for local farmers and producers and support thousands of jobs.”
The new agreement also requires a negotiation for a new long-term lease with the Australian Rail Track Corporation, which is responsible for the Inland Rail infrastructure alongside private contributors.
A committee comprised of Victorian and government officials has also been established to consider the work needed to improve the existing North East Line.
The state has further agreed to buy new trains for the corridor after completion of works on the track.