Inland Rail has significant cost risks, and the financial arrangements mean the public may never know whether these risks eventuate. It’s no secret that the $9 billion equity investment from the Federal Government will never be paid back, even when the revenues start to flow. The project is feasible only with this substantial public funding contribution.
Inland Rail’s proponent – the Australian Rail Track Corporation – expects that every dollar of public money spent will yield just $1.10 of benefits, if all goes according to plan. But this submission shows there are several reasons to doubt that all will go according to plan. Putting the project off budget does not save taxpayers the cost of dubious decisions. If Inland Rail ends up costing more or worth less than anticipated, future taxpayers will still be liable.