A contract has been awarded for the manufacturing of 1.3 million concrete sleepers needed to complete the construction of the massive Inland Rail project.

The Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC) has signed contracts worth $143 million with Austrak, one of Australia’s largest manufacturers of railway sleepers, to supply sleepers for the Inland Rail project.

Around 95 workers, including 30 new positions supported by this contract commitment, will manufacture the sleepers at Austrak’s sites in Rockhampton and Wagga Wagga.

Austrak has already provided around 225,000 sleepers for the Narrabri to North Star section of Inland Rail. 

The 1.3 million sleepers under the new contract will be used to upgrade existing track and complete new sections of rail from Albury in New South Wales through to the Inland Rail end point in Queensland.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development, Barnaby Joyce, said Inland Rail is helping drive the growth of regional Australia, on and off the track.

“Australia’s largest transport infrastructure project is creating big opportunities for our manufacturers, helping these businesses to grow and hire more Australians,” Mr Joyce said.

“More than 400 Australian businesses, including many in regional areas, have already shared in the billions of dollars we’re investing in Inland Rail.

“The project is not just breathing new life into regional economies along the route but all over Australia, including in Rockhampton, which is north of where we expect the eventual route to end in Gladstone.

Federal Finance Minister, Simon Birmingham, said the $143 million contract would continue to create significant employment and economic opportunities for regional Australia and across the board.

“The design and construction of Inland Rail has already seen ARTC commit to contracts worth more than $2.2 billion,” Mr Birmingham said.

“This level of investment is having positive flow on for local communities, with Inland Rail expected to deliver a boost of more than $18 billion to Australia’s Gross Domestic Product during construction and through the first 50 years of operation.

“Australia’s supply chains are already benefiting from Inland Rail, with the completed and operational Parkes to Narromine section servicing freight trains.”

Federal Member for Riverina, Michael McCormack, commended Austrak on its role in building the Inland Rail, creating many local jobs and boosting the Wagga Wagga economy.

“Inland Rail is a significant nation-building project, changing how rail freight is moved around Australia while enhancing our immediate and long-term economic prospects,” Mr McCormack said.

“This is proof the Inland Rail is supporting local economies not only along its 1,700km corridor of commerce – but right across the country and particularly in our regions – now and into the future.”

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