Major construction works have begun on the second section of the Inland Rail corridor, between Narrabri and the North Star region in New South Wales.
The Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC) will construct the $700 million railway, building 171 kilometres of track as phase one of the project.
The first section of the Inland Rail construction has been completed and runs between Parkes and Narromine.
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Michael McCormack said Inland Rail is significant to regional Australia.
“Inland Rail is undoubtedly a game changer, regional Australians who live and work locally need world-class transport and logistics to get their products to market, and the Australian Government has delivered,” he said.
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“Inland Rail is establishing a 1700 kilometre corridor of commerce that offers social and economic opportunities for regional Australia – we saw the opportunities that came from the first completed section of Inland Rail, between Parkes and Narromine, and now these benefits will now be felt in the North West.
“For some Inland Rail will be a once-in-a-generation opportunity, at the peak of construction more than 21,500 people will work on Inland Rail and I know many locals will be proud to look back in the years to come and say they were a part of it.”
Finance Minister Simon Birmingham said Inland Rail was a critical infrastructure investment that would boost the Australian economy.
“The investment we make in Inland Rail is an investment in supply chains, the Australian economy and the workforce that will drive our recovery,” Birmingham said.
“Inland Rail’s fast, reliable and cost-competitive freight will increase the safety and efficiency of the national freight network and ensure Australian businesses remain globally competitive – once complete Inland Rail will deliver cost savings for all Australians who rely on freight for the food they eat, the clothes they wear and the furnishings in their homes and offices.”
Federal Member for Parkes and Regional Health, Regional Communications and Local Government Minister Mark Coulton said the works will bring economic stimulus to the regional communities of Narrabri, Bellata, Moree and North Star.
“The construction of Inland Rail from Narrabri to North Star will directly employ 500 people, with many others to follow for sub-contractors and businesses in the area,” he said.
“The Australian Rail Track Corporation and its construction partners have been busy engaging the local community over the past few months to ensure the local workforce is in a position to benefit from the construction of Inland Rail.”