Landmark Inland Rail agreement puts NSW on the right track
THE Federal and New South Wales Governments have today signed a landmark Bilateral Agreement, which makes way for the commencement of works on the multi-billion dollar Inland Rail project in NSW.
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure Michael McCormack and NSW Deputy Premier and Minister for Regional NSW John Barilaro today signed the Intergovernmental Agreement in Parkes.
NSW is the second state to sign up to the nationally-significant project. The new agreement provides consent for the Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC) to deliver Inland Rail in NSW.
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Michael McCormack said the signing of the Bilateral Agreement was a landmark moment in the delivery of the project.
“Inland Rail will be a corridor of commerce for communities along the eastern seaboard and today’s agreement in Parkes is another vital step in making its vision a reality,” Mr McCormack said.
“Locals know how exciting this project is and – as a local MP – I know how Inland Rail will create local jobs and investment opportunities throughout the regions, as well as dealing with Australia’s future freight challenges well into the next century.”
Minister for Finance Mathias Cormann said the agreement provides certainty for the delivery of Inland Rail in NSW, and includes a commitment to negotiate a new long-term lease with the ARTC and protect the rail corridor.
“While construction for the Parkes to Narromine section will commence in the coming months, the agreement provides the guiding principles for the delivery of new sections of Inland Rail, including the 307 km corridor of new rail between Narromine and Narrabri,” Minister Cormann said.
“Inland Rail will provide the critical infrastructure needed to ensure Australia remains competitive by ensuring our freight and supply chain is modernised and productive to deal with the expected doubling of the freight task over the next 20 years.”
NSW Deputy Premier John Barilaro said Inland Rail will deliver widespread benefits throughout the state, including reduced congestion on roads and rail, and will importantly pave the way for the development of inland ports in regional NSW.
“Inland Rail has the potential to completely reinvigorate parts of regional NSW, well beyond the thousands of jobs that will be created in the construction phase,” Mr Barilaro said.
“This is all about helping NSW farmers get their product from paddock to port as cheaply and efficiently as possible, and in turn, putting money back in the pockets of those producers to reinvest in their businesses or spend in their regional and rural towns.
“What today’s agreement shows is that across all levels of Government, there is a commitment to invest heavily in our regions, and a commitment to co-operate to deliver a transformational project not just for NSW, but for the country.”
The project will create a direct rail freight connection between Melbourne and Brisbane capable of moving double stacked freight containers. Once operational, Inland Rail will attract more freight to rail, diverting traffic from the Newell, Hume and Pacific Highways, and in turn freeing up space in the Sydney Metro area for more passenger services.
NSW Minister for Transport and Infrastructure Andrew Constance said the NSW Government was excited to see the benefits of the priority project.
“Infrastructure Australia has listed Inland Rail as a ‘priority’ project for good reason: it is a solution to the long-term freight challenge Australia faces,” Mr Constance said.
“It will improve freight travel times for local farmers and producers, support thousands of jobs and improve road safety, reliability and productivity on our freight network.”
NSW Minister for Roads, Maritime and Freight Melinda Pavey said Inland Rail will be a major economic opportunity for residents and businesses throughout New South Wales.
“With connectivity to NSW’s Country Regional Network, Inland Rail will better connect our farms, cities and ports to domestic and international markets and reduce supply chain costs. That includes farmers and freight operators that shift goods to Asia and beyond.”
Construction works will commence mid this year once all necessary approvals are received. More information about the Inland Rail project is available at https://infrastructure.gov.au/rail/inland.