Harden, South West Slopes tracking to brighter future through inland rail

FARMERS and primary producers throughout the Harden district and the South West Slopes are on track for great opportunities to access new markets through The Nationals’ inland rail plan, Riverina Nationals’ MP Michael McCormack says.

“Our plan for inland rail will bring terrific benefits throughout the Riverina and Central West, but particularly to the people and communities of Harden, Cootamundra and surrounds,” Mr McCormack said.

“In my many visits to the region since the new electoral boundaries were determined, I have seen first hand the excitement and opportunities local producers have through our plan to help farmers get their product to market sooner and more efficiently.

“That’s why The Nationals in Government have allocated $594 million in our 2016/17 Federal Budget to getting the detail right.”

Mr McCormack said the plans to open Canberra’s airport to international routes, as well as the Coalition Government’s three trade agreements will enable additional market access for farmers across South Asia.

“With Canberra’s airport commencing international routes in September, many locals share my excitement at the prospect of getting our fresh food and fibre into Asia’s growing markets as soon as possible,” Mr McCormack said.

“Partnered with the Coalition’s recently-signed trifecta of trade agreements with South Korea, Japan and China, we know there are many local producers who can now access Asia’s markets and their burgeoning population, which has a great demand for high-quality Australian food.”

Mr McCormack said The Nationals’ investment goes further than the $594 million for inland rail, with a particular focus on the enabling road works and infrastructure to help farmers get their product to market.

“We all know the critical investment in big-picture infrastructure such as inland rail is the enabling works to help trucks and other heavy vehicles get the access they need to rail hubs and sidings,” Mr McCormack said.

“That’s why The Nationals in Government have tripled roads funding from Canberra to local governments. We understand that locals, not bureaucrats, know how to best allocate local roads funding, and Councils are an important partner in making a Melbourne-to-Brisbane inland rail route a reality.”

For more information on the inland rail route, please visit https://infrastructure.gov.au/rail/inland/

Cristy Houghton