Possible budget and scheduling blowouts at the $14.5 billion Inland Rail network will be investigated in a review of the key infrastructure project.
The federal government on Friday announced former Energy Security Board chair Kerry Schott would lead an independent probe into the major project.
Infrastructure Minister Catherine King said Labor was delivering on an election commitment to get the national project on track without further delays.
The government said in a statement it inherited a project that was over-budget and behind schedule, without a plan for where it would start or end.
The review will look at the process for choosing the Inland Rail route as well as the project's scope, schedule and cost.
It will also examine options for where intermodal terminals will be built in Melbourne and Brisbane, with a decision yet to be made on where the facilities will be located.
Construction on the project began in 2018 and it is due to be finished by 2027, but government figures have cast doubt on the timeline put in place by their coalition predecessors.
A damning Senate report last year warned of a series of challenges the development faced, with the inquiry told final costs for the infrastructure project could top $20 billion.
NSW farmers have also raised concerns about the rail line dissecting their properties amid complaints there hadn't been proper consultation about the project's impact.
Modelling carried out by the CSIRO and released in March found freight transport costs could be slashed by more than $200 million each year by shifting bulk transport from road to rail with the project.
The 1700-kilometre Inland Rail network would nearly halve freight along routes from Melbourne and Brisbane, while there would be a 40 per cent reduction in transport costs for freight travelling to Queensland, the report said.
It is estimated the Inland Rail project would take 20,000 trucks off the road each year, or 150 B-doubles for each train running between Melbourne and Brisbane.
Australian Associated Press
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