Rail project begins
Construction on the Inland Rail project, which will go through Benalla, has officially begun, kick starting the creation of thousands of jobs and billions of dollars in investment.
Deputy Prime Minister and Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Minister Michael McCormack turned the first sod last week at Parkes in Central-West NSW.
Once fully constructed, Inland Rail will enable faster, bigger, double-stacked trains to move more produce into domestic and international markets, at a lower freight cost.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the 1700 km ‘‘corridor of commerce’’ will open up inland regional communities to investment and export opportunities presented by Free Trade Agreements.
‘‘Inland Rail will connect rural and regional Australia to millions of customers at home and overseas through key domestic and rapidly expanding international markets,’’ the Prime Minister said.
‘‘It will also drive significant investment in the communities themselves through the creation of around 16 000 direct and indirect jobs, and a $16 billion contribution to the national economy.
‘‘Our $9.3 billion investment in Inland Rail is a key part of our record $75 billion infrastructure plan, which is supporting better freight transport to deliver economic and community gains across the nation.
‘‘Inland Rail is another example of a project which had been discussed for decades until the Liberal and Nationals Government got on with the job of delivering it.’’
Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack said Inland Rail would deliver freight to market at reduced costs, putting more money in farmers’ pockets.
‘‘Inland Rail is gamechanging infrastructure,’’ Mr McCormack said.
‘‘It will deliver jobs, not just during the construction phase, but permanent jobs through increased freight.
‘‘Farmers will be able to move food and fibre between Melbourne and Brisbane, in larger volumes and more cost-efficiently.
‘‘This is truly a once-ina-generation project and I’m proud to be part of this historic event, marking the formal start of construction.’’
Finance and Public Service Minister Mathias Cormann said the Liberal and Nationals Government’s investment in Inland Rail would help to drive longterm economic benefits.
‘‘For every dollar that we are investing in Inland Rail it will return $2.62 to the national economy,’’ Mr Cormann said.
‘‘Construction will enable industry and businesses to invest back into their local communities, injecting critical funds... into regional economies.’’
The construction contract for the Parkes to Narromine section of Inland Rail is worth more than $300 million and so far more than 14 000 tonnes of steel has been delivered to the site.
There are 187 live contracts for materials, goods and services worth $637 million associated with Inland Rail, including the manufacturing of 200 000 concrete sleepers.
The first double-stacked freight train is expected to run between Melbourne and Brisbane in the mid-2020s.
Sod turned: Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack using the commemorative shovel at the Inland Rail sod turning ceremony, to launch the Inland Rail’s construction. The shovel was made 106 years ago and is kept at the National Museum of Australia.