New PAIR research expands focus on South Sulawesi railway line

train on a track in early morning

The Makassar to Parepare railway in South Sulawesi is a vital piece of infrastructure for Indonesia and an important focus of PAIR’s research.


Its potential for the movement of goods and commodities including seaweed, coal and cement, as well as passenger services, is the subject of a major PAIR research project.

Now, the Australia-Indonesia Centre has funded several new projects to examine a number of themes in relation to this piece of infrastructure.

These projects will build on, and further complement, previous work conducted by PAIR, support DFAT’s Partnerships for Recovery strategy, and examine issues of gender equality, disability and social inclusion.

PAIR researchers from Indonesia and Australia will gather evidence and make recommendations that can be used to inform public transport policy.

Click the name of the research project below for further information:


Road bridge with vehicles above a railway line with train
New infrastructure is key to the future of South Sulawesi. Image: Arfan Sabran for the Australia-Indonesia Centre 

Socio-economic impact and outcomes for communities along the railway line

This project investigates the socio-economic impacts of the railway on rural communities, particularly on vulnerable groups.

It will provide insights into good and bad effects of the railway and will examine how the railway development affects agricultural produce in the districts adjacent to the railway.

It will also explore how residents, particularly women, perceive and are affected by the railway development.

This project aligns with DFAT strategies on gender equality, with a focus on the economic recovery of women and other disadvantaged groups.

Research team


Yellow railway carriages
The South Sulawesi railway is predicted to benefit the movement of people and goods. Image: Arfan Sabran for the Australia-Indonesia Centre 

Assessment of policy coordination and communication in the development of the railway line

This research project seeks to identify and evaluate issues linked with the Makassar-Parepare railway project and will involve key central and local stakeholders.

It is expected to provide significant benefits, especially in the development of future sections of the Trans Sulawesi railway line.

The research outcome is expected to help the construction industry with an accurate understanding of stakeholders’ roles, relations, and communications.

This capability is expected to help all parties such as clients, policymakers, strategists, financiers, and community leaders involved in making informed decisions in infrastructure planning and development.

Research team
  • Co-leads: Associate Professor Hemanta Doloi (University of Melbourne), Hengki Purwoto (Universitas Gadjah Mada)
  • Partner investigators: Dr Nurhadi Susanto (Universitas Gadjah Mada), Dr Mailinda Eka Yuniza (Universitas Gadjah Mada), Atmaja P. Rosyidi (Universitas Gadjah Mada), Joewono Soemardjito (Universitas Gadjah Mada)


Can a railway provide a boost to South Sulawesi ecotourism? Image: Wikimedia Commons

Ecotourism potential of the railway line in South Sulawesi

This project will examine how the Makassar-Parepare rail line could be used to further develop South Sulawesi ecotourism which could provide new employment opportunities, and could lead to the creation of new ecotourism businesses led by women.

The project will audit existing and potential ecotourism destinations, and survey various stakeholders, to determine the attitudes and capacity of local communities and institutions to manage an increase in ecotourism.

It will also determine tourists’ interest in using the railway line for accessing these ecotourism destinations.

The project will include recommendations aimed at government and potential investors for where and what ecotourism destinations could be developed along the railway line to maximise post-pandemic effectiveness.

Research team


Indonesian woman wearing Islamic veil It is hoped rail infrastructure in South Sulawesi will help empower women. Image: Wikimedia Commons

Safety and accessibility for women and people with disabilities at stations

A team from the XYX Lab at Monash University and Universitas Hasanuddin is performing an audit on the South Sulawesi railway with a focus on safety and accessibility for women and people with disabilities.

This research aligns with the DFAT strategy to empower women and promote gender equality which is seen as crucial in accelerating sustainable development.

This project will provide practical recommendations to stakeholders to improve the railway stations on the Makassar-Parepare line for women and girls and for people with disabilities.

The findings will also promote greater understanding of issues of safety and accessibility to inform future design of public infrastructure.

Research team

This new PAIR research follows a similar announcement about reports focused on the seaweed sector.

Image at top: Arfan Sabran for the Australia-Indonesia Centre

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