The Federal Government has released the Inland Rail economic study, which shows the project has created growth in jobs and investment in towns along the rail line.
The Northern NSW Long-Term Regional Opportunities report has found that Inland Rail has brought about a significant boost to jobs and investment in the northern NSW area.
The report outlines growth in food processing, logistics hubs and consumer warehousing as a direct result of the project, and suggests Inland Rail offers a clear track for further investment in the region.
The study region for the report includes 16 local government areas that are approximately 50km east and 100km west of the Inland Rail alignment.
The report is part of a broader economic study released in March 2020 that builds on the existing benefits outlined in the 2015 Inland Rail Business Case and forecasts that regional Queensland, NSW and Victoria will see a boost of up to $13.3 billion in gross regional product off the back of Inland Rail.
Federal Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development, Michael McCormack, said the study was a call-to-arms for small and big business to take advantage of the enhanced connectivity and cost-competitive supply chains created by Inland Rail.
“The report shows Inland Rail is capable of supporting another 310 full-time jobs by ten years of operation and could boost gross regional product by up to $1.7 billion over a 50-year period,” Mr McCormack said.
“Inland Rail will provide benefits in regional communities for decades to come so we want to see industries expand outside metropolitan areas by taking advantage of the significant infrastructure we are delivering, lower land costs, resources and the ready and willing regional workforce.
“We want Australia to be in the best position to not only recover from the disruptions caused by COVID-19, but thrive after the immediate threat has passed with all levels of government working together to drive economic resilience and support jobs in our regions.”
Federal Finance Minister, Mathias Cormann, said the report’s findings clearly demonstrated the important role Inland Rail will play in the nation’s economic recovery.
“We entered into this pandemic from a position of economic strength and we are confident our pro-growth and pro-business agenda will significantly boost our economy on the other side,” Mr Cormann said.
“Giving businesses and communities along Inland Rail’s path access to fast, efficient and cost-competitive freight transport will connect them to new markets and will drive new investments from industries looking to expand in our regions.
“Significant job-creating and economy-boosting projects like Inland Rail will soften the economic impact of the coronavirus-induced crisis and also lay the tracks for future regional development and economic stimulus well into the future.”
Federal Minister for Regional Health, Regional Communications and Local Government, Mark Coulton, welcomed the report and the opportunities highlighted for the region.
“The time is now for industry to start planning for the coming decades and strategically position themselves to build resilience in their supply chains and take full advantage of the huge benefits Inland Rail is going to offer,” Mr Coulton said.
“The report includes industry case studies for Narrabri and Gunnedah – but what this report shows us is that there are opportunities for industry throughout northern New South Wales and not just along the 1,700km line.
“I want regional communities in northern New South Wales to have the same opportunities as metropolitan and coastal communities. Northern NSW is in a strong position to maximise the opportunities presented by Inland Rail.”
Find out more about the research here.