The Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC) has appointed its first preferred construction contractor and awarded contracts for the Inland Rail project.
INLink is the preferred construction contractor for the Parkes to Narromine section of Inland Rail. Calvani Crushing and Ausrock Quarries have also been awarded contracts for ballast and capping work on the project.
The appointment allows INLink, a joint venture with BMD Constructions and Fulton Hogan, to begin preparing for the start of construction for Inland Rail later this year.
Inland Rail CEO, Richard Wankmuller, said INLink would be scoping out suppliers in the market with many opportunities for regional companies and local businesses.
“With early works on Inland Rail now well under way, residents and local businesses will increasingly see the flow on benefits, including jobs and new investment opportunities.
“INLink will be putting together their environmental management plans and applying for their Environment Protection Licence to lay the foundations for major construction,” Mr Wankmuller said.
The economic benefits of Inland Rail continue to flow with up to 16 new jobs created in the Parkes region, as two local companies, Calvani Crushing and Ausrock Quarries, work to supply about $7 million in ballast and capping for the project’s first stage in NSW.
Calvani Crushing has been awarded a $4.8 million contract to supply more than 150,000 tonnes of ballast and 75,000 tonnes of capping; while Ausrock Quarries has been awarded a $2.1 million contract to supply more than 45,000 tonnes of ballast and 45,000 tonnes of capping. This product will be delivered over the next 12 – 18 months.
Mr Wankmuller said the first track for Inland Rail will be laid later this year between Parkes and Narromine and there is now a steady stream of supply contracts bringing jobs and opportunities to various parts of Australia.
“Inland Rail is securing jobs in regional Australia and our cities. We now have ballast and capping supplied from Parkes, concrete sleepers from Mittagong, steel track from Whyalla; and there are many other significant contracts to be awarded,” Mr Wankmuller said.
“This is just the beginning job-wise. Inland Rail is gathering momentum each day and is delivering on its great potential. It’s expected to deliver 16,000 new jobs at peak construction, and an average of 700 additional jobs a year over the entire programme.”
Ballast is the small rocks that lie underneath, between and around railway sleepers. Capping is the smaller crushed rock that sits underneath the upper layer of larger rock to form the track foundation. Together, they fix the track in position, allow for drainage and reduce vegetation growth.
About 3.6 million tonnes of ballast and 3.4 million tonnes of capping will be required for the 1,700km length of Inland Rail, which will provide further opportunities for quarries in regional areas along the rail alignment.
Calvani Crushing Managing Director, John Calvani, praised Inland Rail for its strong focus on local industry participation.
“The Inland Rail contract is the biggest we’ve been awarded and it’s an advantage for everyone to source these products locally. It’s allowed us to create new jobs and it provides a good income for these people. It’s also a saving for Inland Rail as it doesn’t have transport product over long distances,” Mr Calvani said.
Ausrock Quarries Director, Simon Shannon, said Inland Rail was generating a lot of optimism locally.
“We’ve been an ARTC supplier for five years, but this large Inland Rail contract means that we have been able to employ an extra eight people, which delivers many local flow-on effects,” Mr Shannon said.
The Australian Government have also announced a ‘One-Stop-Shop’ to support the ARTC and its contractors to maximise the Inland Rail’s local benefits and act as a central point of advice for contractors to source local jobseekers and suppliers.
The ‘One-Stop-Shop’ will bring together job and training programs from within the NSW and Federal Governments, with the aim of strategically supporting local employment opportunities during the Inland Rail’s construction.
“We are bringing together Federal, State and Local Government and the ARTC to maximise opportunities for local and Aboriginal employment and procurement during construction of Inland Rail,” Mr McCormack said.