Liberty Steel’s Whyalla steelworks has completed its first $20 million order to the Inland Rail project, delivering 14,000 tonnes on site for the Parkes to Narromine section of the track.
The delivery of Whyalla steel coincides with construction ramping up on the North-West Connection, 5.3km of brand-new track to connect the existing Broken Hill line to Inland Rail.
Five Sydney Harbour Bridges’ worth of steel will be required for the Melbourne-to-Brisbane project.
ARTC’s CEO of the Inland Rail project, Richard Wankmuller, said it was great to see Australian steel underpinning Inland Rail and securing Australian steelworker jobs.
“Whyalla steel rail is already used widely for projects across ARTC’s rail network, with Liberty Primary Steel currently supplying three large steel rail contracts concurrently,” Mr Wankmuller said.
“The construction underway and supply of steel rail to the Inland Rail project is an example of how a project – that has been talked about for generations – will benefit all Australians for the next 100 years.”
Inland Rail aims to offer a road competitive service which will reduce transit times for freight movements between Melbourne and Brisbane by rail to less than 24 hours, with reliability, freight availability and pricing to meet growing customer needs.
Liberty Primary Steel has been steadily manufacturing approximately 14,000 tonnes of steel rail for transportation to Parkes since being awarded the $20 million contract in December 2017.
As of 26 November 2018, ARTC had 187 live contracts for materials, goods and services worth $637 million. ARTC has contracted for the manufacture of 200,000 concrete sleepers.
Rail construction works to upgrade the existing infrastructure between Parkes and Narromine to Inland Rail standard will continue into 2020 to enable preparation for heavier, longer freight trains to travel between Melbourne and Brisbane, Sydney, Adelaide and Perth.
Liberty Primary Steel Chief Operating Officer, Theuns Victor, said the company was proud to contribute to projects of the scale and importance of Inland Rail.
“Our team takes great pride in providing high-quality, Australian-made product towards such an iconic undertaking,” Mr Victor said.
“It is exciting to see this ‘nation-building’ project being built with Australian steel and benefitting regional communities right across Australia, including Whyalla.
“Our Whyalla steelworks has forged a close relationship with ARTC over many years, and we are continuing to explore opportunities for the possible supply of our high-quality rail into future stages of this vital infrastructure project.”
Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Michael McCormack, said it was fitting that Australian steel will lay the foundation of the country’s future freight network.
“Inland Rail will connect to existing regional and rural rail lines to drive productivity growth for inland communities beyond the alignment,” Mr McCormack said.
“Sixty workers from INLink are already working on the Parkes to Narromine section of this nation-building project and more than $300 million is being spent in the Parkes region which is boosting spending at local shops and supporting local businesses and schools.”
The Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC) has established Community Consultative Committees (CCC) in New South Wales to meet with local landholders along the proposed alignment, to discuss the opportunities Inland Rail will deliver and listen to any concerns from the community.
The Illabo to Stockinbingal CCC was announced in December 2018 with the first meeting to be held in Cootamundra this Thursday, 28 February 2019.
“We need local knowledge and expertise to inform the best possible rail line,” Mr McCormack said.
“I encourage all interested community members to contact members of the CCC to discuss any matters they would like raised in the first meeting later this month.”