Malcolm Turnbull claims a new freight railway through Wagga is a 'priority'

The prime minister has reaffirmed his commitment to building a new freight railway through Wagga. 

The federal government stumped up $594 million in the 2016-17 budget to purchase the land for a 1700 kilometre freight line from Brisbane to Melbourne, via Wagga.

Inland rail will use the existing interstate rail line through Victoria and southern NSW but will also require approximately 400km of track upgrades and approximately 600km of new track.

“The inland rail is a high priority,” Mr Turnbull said.

“Progress is being made as quickly as it can be and all ministers are committed to the project.”

The route is likely to encompass the Riverina Intermodal Freight and Logistics (RIFL) Hub, which will turbocharge transport of local produce to eastern seaboard ports. 

In the lead-up to the 2013 election, Liberal senator Warren Truss said construction would start within three year but just last week infrastructure minister Darren Chester said construction could start within a decade.

Labor infrastructure spokesman Anthony Albanese couldn’t understand why – with bipartisan support for inland rail – not a single sleeper has yet been laid.  

“If they (the government) had built a sleeper for every time they mentioned inland rail, the thing would have been opened by now,” Mr Albenese said.

"It's such a vital project to the Riverina, it has bipartisan support and it's still not being progressed.

"It's been four years of process, rather than progress."

The former Labor government spent $900m on the project; $600m of which was spent upgrading parts of the existing rail network that would be part of the line.