Rail pro­ject be­gins

Benalla Ensign - - News -

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.

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