The Brisbane to Melbourne Inland Rail Project was subject to discussion at a recent roundtable meeting in Coonamble, New South Wales, where State and Federal Government representatives sought to build trust and transparency with involved communities and stakeholders.
The Australian Government has cited its commitment to ensure local businesses and regional communities have the right information and advice they need to realise the direct and indirect opportunities which underpin this transformational rail project and maximise the returns.
The Coonamble forum included discussion and input from local government and businesses, farmers, State and Federal Governments and relevant departments and agencies.
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development, Michael McCormack, said the Australian Government and the Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC) are working together with grass roots community members to manage specific issues and explain the Inland Rail’s potential, through the consultation process.
“Today’s meeting in Coonamble is one of many we’ve held with businesses, individual stakeholders and community representatives up and down the Inland Rail track and we’ll continue to maintain this positive communication,” Mr McCormack said.
“We are listening to what stakeholders are saying and we are also explaining and providing details of where and how they can take advantage of the jobs and economic opportunities which go with this nation-building project.
“The Australian Government is committed to ensuring this once-in-a-generation rail project delivers for regional Australians and enhances the national economy, moving freight more efficiently and safely to growing markets here and overseas.
“Inland Rail is a transformational freight rail line and the Australian Government’s multi-billion dollar investment is backed by our commitment to the ongoing work we are doing on the ground, to roll it out responsibly and maintain community engagement.”
Assistant Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment and Federal Member for Parkes, Mark Coulton, said he’s proud to see the Australian Government getting things right and committing to consultation with regional businesses and communities.
“The Australian Government is getting on with the job to ensure that regional Australians can take advantage of the employment and economic opportunities of Inland Rail,” Mr Coulton said.
“Communities in my electorate are already looking at exciting ways they can be well-prepared for Inland Rail.”
Minister for Finance and the Public Service, Mathias Cormann, said the project’s benefits will be realised across the NSW economy.
“In NSW alone Inland Rail will boost the Gross State Product by $2.6 billion and create around 5000 jobs during construction and through to operation,” Mr Cormann said.
“We are already seeing direct employment opportunities for regional communities in NSW as well as complementary investment in towns along the route, such as the $50 million Parkes National Logistics Hub.”
The 2017-18 Federal Budget saw the Australian Government commit to the Inland Rail’s delivery with an additional $8.4 billion equity investment in the ARTC, bringing the total investment to $9.3 billion.
The project will utilise 1200km of existing rail corridor, with sections upgraded to improve operating efficiencies and about 500km of new track will also be constructed.