Business case for inland rail unravels

March 27, 2019

Conservative Party leader Cory Bernardi has been proven right again with news today that the business case for inland rail is unravelling and Australian taxpayers are on the hook ... it's the second time the dodgy business case has been exposed.

The Australian Financial Review reports,the amount of coal being exported through the Port of Brisbane is well short of the numbers used in the business case to prop up the Morrison government's $10 billion Melbourne-to-Brisbane inland railway.

With doubts about the long-term financial viability of the 1700-kilometre project, it can be revealed the amount of coal exported through New Hope Group's Queensland Bulk Handling terminal at the Port of Brisbane last year was only 7.2 million tonnes.

The multi-user facility has a capacity of 10 million tonnes, but the 2015 business case for the inland rail project by former deputy prime minister John Anderson estimated there would need to be 12.9 million tonnes of coal exported through the port by 2024-25, increasing to 19.5 million tonnes a year in 2029-30 and continuing at that level until 2069-70.

If the optimistic coal export numbers are not met, it could undermine the whole business case for the inland rail project, which is being funded by a $9.3 billion equity injection from the Commonwealth.

In his budget reply speech from May 2017, when now Prime Minister Scott Morrison was Federal Treasurer, Senator Bernardi called out the Coalition's previous budget as 'Fifty Shades of Labor' and its Education projections as 'starship Conski'. 

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