Value of rail


Value of rail

The contribution of rail in Australia

This Deloitte Access Economics report was commissioned by the Australasian Railway Association to quantify the current value of rail to the Australian economy and broader society. The research also explores the key challenges facing the industry.

Value of rail


Australia’s population growth rate – around 1.5% a year – is among the highest in OECD countries and, since the year 2000, our population has grown by more than 25%. This growth, projected into the future, has startling consequences: Australia’s population is forecast to almost double by 2070 reaching almost 45 million people.

To manage these challenges Australia will have to significantly develop its transport infrastructure with rail in a central role. Currently rail is a significant industry in its own right and makes a large contribution to the Australian economy of around $26 billion a year (1.6% of GDP) and 140,000 jobs. Rail is also an efficient, environmentally and socially beneficial mode of transport. Rail has lower emissions than road transport, is safer and can help reduce congestion in our cities.

The Deloitte Access Economics Value of Rail report has been commissioned by the Australasian Railway Association (ARA), the peak body for rail in Australia, representing all sectors of the rail industry. 

This report quantifies the current value of rail to the Australian economy in terms of its contribution to GDP and employment as well as its broader contribution to society through benefits such as reduced emissions, greater safety and reduced congestion. The key challenges facing transport in Australia are explored in more detail and areas of focus for Government and industry are identified in order to ensure that rail continues to generate value for the Australian economy and society.

The report finds:

  • The rail industry directly contributes $13.3 billion in value add and employed 53,490 FTE workers in 2016
  • The total contribution of the rail industry to GDP (direct and indirect) was $26 billion and 142,288 FTE workers – making up to 1.6% of the Australian economy
  • Rail generates significant benefits for society in terms of reduced accidents, carbon emissions and congestion and improvements in health and social inclusion.

Published: November 2017

Value of rail - 2017

The true value of rail 


This report, written for the Australasian Railway Association in 2011, seeks to identify and quantify, where possible, the benefits from rail transport that are not captured in prices and which accrue to the community at large. These benefits include: improved land use and urban densification; lower carbon emissions; reduced congestion; fewer accidents; removing barriers to social inclusion; improving land values; and enhanced energy security. It also investigates the level and type of investments needed to help rail achieve its potential and compares these to the benefits that could flow from increased rail use.

The true value of rail - 2011
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