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Analysis of Performance against Purpose

The NFRA has established a skilled and experienced team to provide expert advice and support to the Australian Government on faster rail. Collectively, the team has expertise and experience in urban and regional planning and development, infrastructure delivery, project management, program administration, policy development and implementation, financial and governance oversight and transport planning.

In addition, in the 12 months since the NFRA was established, we have:

  • Completed faster rail business cases for Sydney to Newcastle, Melbourne to Greater Shepparton and Brisbane to the Sunshine Coast and provided advice to the Government on project funding opportunities and next steps.
  • Commenced faster rail business cases for Brisbane to the Gold Coast, Sydney to Bomaderry, Sydney to Parkes with negotiations underway to commence business cases for Melbourne to Albury-Wodonga and Melbourne to Traralgon.
  • Engaged with key stakeholders to understand key faster rail issues and corridor opportunities and facilitated engagement between Commonwealth, state and industry officials on faster rail.
  • Worked collaboratively with the Infrastructure and Project Financing Agency, Infrastructure Australia and the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications to provide a joint submission to the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Infrastructure, Transport and Cities Inquiry into Options for financing faster rail.
  • Finalised institutional and governance arrangements covering the operation of the NFRA and the conduct of its employees including in relation to financial management, accountability and risk management arrangements.

NFRA Outcome:

Improved rail infrastructure between our capital cities and their surrounding regional centres by providing coordination, strategic advice and the identification of investments that improve reliability and travel speeds.

2019–20 Performance Measure:

Advice supports the Australian Government’s 20-Year Fast Rail Plan.

Performance Criterion: Source – National Faster Rail Agency 2019–20 Corporate Plan (page 6–7)

Analysis

Target: Three initial business cases completed

Result: Achieved

In 2019–20, the NFRA completed three business cases that were funded under the Faster Rail Prospectus. These were for the Sydney to Newcastle, Melbourne to Shepparton and Brisbane to Sunshine Coast passenger rail corridors.

Target: Five additional business cases commenced

Result: Largely Achieved (Victorian discussions delayed by COVID)

In 2019–20, the NFRA commenced three of the five Major Project Business Case Fund faster rail business cases. The NFRA held discussions with states to establish Terms of Reference and funding arrangements for projects (including the scope of works and governance oversight arrangements). Negotiations with New South Wales and Queensland were completed and negotiations are nearing finalisation with Victoria (expected to be completed in July 2020).

Brisbane to Gold Coast – Complete
Sydney to Bomaderry – Complete
Sydney to Parkes – Complete

Melbourne to Traralgon – Not yet complete, negotiations well advanced

Melbourne to Albury-Wodonga – Not yet complete, negotiations well advanced

Target: Faster Rail Expert Panel established

Result: Not yet established

The establishment of a Faster Rail Expert Panel is subject to a decision by the Australian Government.

Target: Advice considers opportunities and implications for high speed rail

Result: Achieved, ongoing

In 2019–20, the NFRA provided advice to the Australian Government on a range of faster rail matters and potential opportunities and continues to build up its expertise and knowledge to support high quality advice in the future.

Target: Advice considers opportunities for private sector funding and financing

Result: Achieved, ongoing

In 2019–20, the NFRA provided evidence at a public hearing of the House of Representatives Inquiry into Options for Financing Faster Rail in June 2020.

Internal research into value sharing opportunities is also underway.

Target: Advice developed in consultation with key stakeholders

Result: Achieved, ongoing

In 2019–20, the NFRA’s advice to government in relation to business cases incorporated feedback from key government and private sector stakeholders. The NFRA continues to engaging with the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications regarding faster rail funding opportunities and next steps for completed business case projects.

Target: Two discussion papers on faster rail published on the NFRA website.

Result: Achieved

The NFRA completed three key internal research papers which have supported the development of in-house expertise as well as improving the quality of technical advice to the Australian Government. Decisions to publish these papers is a matter for the Australian Government.