Join IAQ at our next breakfast for an in-depth update of the Melbourne to Brisbane Inland Rail Programme from strategy to delivery to stakeholder engagement.

Inland Rail will be a catalyst for significant development, investment and innovation in regional Australia, with Queensland set to see more than $7.2 billion in net economic benefits flowing from its construction and operation.

In February 2018, ARTC awarded technical and approval consultancy services contracts to the value of $31.5 million for four projects between Brisbane and Toowoomba.

A Public Private Partnership will be established for the design, finance, construction and maintenance of the most technically complex section – Gowrie to Kagaru – which includes the construction of approximately 8.9 kilometres of tunnels.

Our guest speakers from ARTC will cover the progress of the overall programme, its strategic and technical challenges, timeframes for approvals and delivery in Queensland, and the approach to gaining the social licence needed from stakeholders and community.

VENUE: Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre, The Plaza Terrace Room, Grey Street Entrance, South Brisbane

TIME: 7.15am — 9.00am

COST: Members $115, Non-members $140, Members Tables of 10 $1035, Non-members Tables of 10 $1400 (includes GST)







Mr Simon Thomas is the Programme Director for the Inland Rail Programme at the Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC). In this role Mr Thomas is responsible for leading the project team and overseeing the delivery of the Programme’s construction elements.

Mr Thomas has over 28 years of major infrastructure project experience and has successfully delivered projects on time, to budget for major contractors and consultants within UK, Asia, Middle East & Australia. His previous roles include Project Director of Aurizon’s $904m Wiggins Island Rail Project, which is one of Australia’s largest rail infrastructure projects linking the new Coal Export Terminal in Gladstone with over 70km of new rail infrastructure.

During his time at Aurizon, in 2014 Mr Thomas was awarded Project Director High Commendation by the Australian Institute of Project Management for his work on the project.

Simon Eldridge joined the ARTC Inland Rail Programme in October 2016, and has held a number of senior management and strategic communications, stakeholder engagement and policy development roles in both the private and public sectors.

Among career highlights prior to joining ARTC were serving as Director Media & Corporate Communications with the NT Police, Fire & Emergency Services, CEO of a statutory authority in Tasmania and as Managing Director of the Hong Kong office of a global public relations consultancy where he specialised in crisis communications and issues management.


Rob McNamara is the Queensland Delivery Manager for the Inland Rail Programme at the Australian Rail Track Corporation. He is responsible for leading the five project teams in Queensland and providing oversight of the delivery program.

Rob has more than 30 years experience in developing and executing major projects, with 15 of those years in global leadership roles. He has worked in Australia, Europe and the United states and is well regarded for his commercial, negotiation, business development and strategic skills.

His focus for ARTC in Queensland is to manage commercial, technical and social risk, and to build capacity within communities and industry to benefit from the Inland Rail programme.



Ren Niemann is a Partner at McCullough Robertson and leads the firm’s Government Services team.

For more than 20 years he has extensively provided all levels of government, and the private sector, with strategic advice on infrastructure and major projects.   Ren has recently advised on major rail projects across Australia including Sydney Metro, High Capacity Metro Trains and Melbourne Metro and is advising the Cross River Rail Delivery Authority.

Ren provides his clients with strategic structuring and delivery advice on major projects, and advice on statutory frameworks under which government delivers its projects.

Scarlet Reid is a Partner at McCullough Robertson and practices across full range of workplace issues with a particular expertise in work health and safety.

She advises clients on both rail safety and work health and safety issues for major infrastructure projects, as well as conducting safety training and defending breaches of rail safety and WHS laws.

Scarlet is a former prosecutor with SafeWork NSW and against this background provides her clients with a unique insight into compliance with safety laws  Scarlet has a strong reputation as an accomplished litigator defending entities from both public and private sectors charged with breaches of the WHS Law.