Inland Rail Sustainablity

The IS rating provides a comprehensive system for evaluating sustainability across the design and construction of Inland Rail providing an independent assessment that rewards beyond business as usual outcomes.

ARTC Inland Rail Acting Director Communications and Stakeholder Relations Susan Hawkins said the Inland Rail project would aspire to an ‘excellent’ rating across the entire program.

“We are committed to leading by example in sustainable design and construction,” Mrs Hawkins said. “We are creating long-term positive changes to the way Inland Rail does business as we pursue new sustainability benchmarks for our project.”

“This 2020/21 financial year we were very active in procurement with more than $8 billion in the market as we prepared to enter the development phase with contractors. This procurement has been underpinned by innovative and sustainable thinking embedded into our selection criteria for tenders and scope of works for contracts, moving us towards our sustainability targets and goals,” she said.

“This innovation has flowed throughout our business for example on the Narrabri to North Star (Phase 1) where we began work this year, our contractor has worked intensively to improve operations with site offices and the workers’ camp supplied with 50% renewable electricity and site caravans retrofitted with solar panels and batteries. They have an ambitious recycling program including 100% re-use of concrete, steel and timber from deconstructed bridges.

“We will also remove and recycle 70,000 timber sleepers on the N2NS Phase 1 project, so we are achieving some great results as we work with our people and other organisations to deliver a better project.

“Timbers in good condition will be offered for collection and also sold commercially demonstrating the circular economy of material recycling. Roughly 230,000 reclaimed steel sleepers will also be reused on the wider ARTC freight network.

“This year, more than 100 residents, 40% of whom are Indigenous, participated in construction skills training programs and more than 270 businesses in capability building workshops. Our Inland Rail Skills Academy also actively engaged schools in future rail and infrastructure career pathways with more than 1700 students and 120 teachers involved in our virtual work experience and Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics programs this year.

“The impressive figures formed some of the highlights from the third annual Sustainability Report for Inland Rail. We are pushing encouraging our supply chain to improve their sustainability credentials through initiatives such as free capability building webinars for small-medium businesses, which is a signal to industry that we are serious about achieving cost-effective sustainability at all levels of project delivery.”

Mrs Hawkins said the Inland Rail had created 2068 offset credits under landholder stewardship partnerships as Inland Rail targets the protection of biodiversity, the local environment and heritage.

“Establishing a sustainability culture is very important to Inland Rail. We are committed to working in partnership with our stakeholders and our host communities and to delivering long-term value for all. We are excited about the progress we are making to achieve our vision of a world-class, competitive rail network, in a sustainable and considered way,” she said.

“Much has been achieved this year and we’re proud of our progress. But there is always more work to do. And while our report provides an opportunity to share our successes, we also acknowledge the complexities and sensitivities that a program of this scale can create for some communities and landholders. Issues made more complex with uncertainties and disruptions created by the global coronavirus pandemic. It’s why we remain mindful that sustainability is not only about setting – and achieving – clear targets and goals but continuing to evolve our practices as a way of strengthening environmental, social and economic outcomes.”