McCormack welcomes inland rail progress

THE Parkes to Narromine section of the $8.4 billion inland rail project will be the first to receive Australian produced steel rail, the Nationals’ Member for Riverina Michael McCormack has announced.

 Mr McCormack, Australia’s Minister for Small Business, said Australian jobs were being secured with the Federal Government signing a contract with Liberty OneSteel Whyalla Steelworks to supply steel rail for the inland rail.

“Liberty OneSteel Whyalla Steelworks will soon start rolling the approximately 14,000 tonnes of steel required for the Parkes to Narromine section of this nation-building project,” Mr McCormack said.

“I am pleased to see the contract awarded, with the inland rail set to support rail freight movements for the next century.

“There will be many opportunities for local businesses and job seekers in the Riverina and Central West as progress continues, with inland rail supporting thousands of jobs at the peak of construction.

“The 1700-kilometre inland rail line between Brisbane and Melbourne runs through much of the Riverina and Central West and will better connect our farms, cities and ports to domestic and international markets and reduce supply chain costs.

“That includes farmers and freight operators in the Parkes region that shift goods to Asia and beyond.”

Mr McCormack said the Liberals and Nationals’ Government was getting on with delivering on its inland rail commitments.

“Only last week I was in Forbes to meet with representatives of the Australian Rail Track Corporation and Lycopodium Infrastructure Pty Ltd, a company which was awarded a $500,000 Government contract  to conduct a feasibility study on the line between Stockinbingal and Parkes,” Mr McCormack said.

“And now we have this fantastic news on the rail steel.”

The Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Darren Chester said the announcement was one of the most significant to date on the project, with Australian produced steel rail to provide a direct investment to the national economy and secure Australian jobs.

“This order is the first of approximately 262,000 tonnes of steel rail needed to build Inland Rail – which is equivalent to five Sydney Harbour Bridges,” Mr Chester said.

“The next section of this important project scheduled to receive the steel rail, after Parkes to Narromine, will be Narrabri to North Star.”

Inland Rail will complete the spine of the national freight network along the east coast, and allow a transit time between Melbourne and Brisbane of less than 24 hours.

The steel rail is 60 kilograms of steel per metre, which means it will accommodate the Inland Rail standard of double-stack trains up to 1800m in length travelling at 115kph with up to 30 tonne axle load, which is what industry wants.

The NSW Department of Planning and Environment is currently considering ARTC’s Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) and responses to public submissions received about the EIS.

The steel rail contract is worth up to $20 million and construction works will commence once all necessary approvals have been received.

For more information on Inland Rail, visit

Shane Manning