The final golden clip has been hammered into place to signify the completion of the first section of Inland Rail from Parkes to Narromine.
Deputy Prime Minister and Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Minister Michael McCormack said it was a significant and momentous day.
“Inland Rail is nation-building and today recognises a great milestone in this transformational infrastructure,” he said.
“Inland Rail is an investment in Australia – in our economy, in our regions and in the capacity of our future freight network.”
“This is real progress on a project which has been talked about since federation, already our government has delivered more than 1800 jobs and $100 million in local stimulus through Inland Rail.”
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McCormack said Peak Hill was an appropriate location for the achievement as it was here on 15 January 2018 that the first shipment of Australian-made steel was delivered to begin the project.
“The corridor of commerce we are building with Inland Rail stretches 1700 kilometres from Melbourne to Brisbane – we are turning steel into stimulus as we lay the tracks that will deliver jobs and opportunity,” he said.
“We have invested $25 million in ballast and capping (800,000 tonnes) from Parkes-based companies Calvani Crushing and Ausrock Quarries – a great example of how local procurement is at the heart of Inland Rail.”
Finance Minister Mathias Cormann described Inland Rail as a once-in-a-generation project that delivers major benefits to the nation.
“Long-haul rail is cheaper, safer and more reliable than road, that’s why the Australian Government is enhancing the national freight rail network through our investment in Inland Rail,” Cormann said.
“The shift from road to rail builds resilience in our freight network – not only will Inland Rail deliver a long-term freight solution for Australia to meet the needs of our growing population – it is also a critical investment supporting an efficient Australian economy.”
Regional Health, Regional Communications and Local Government Minister Mark Coulton said the milestone showed Inland Rail was happening and will become a vital part of the network required to meet Australia’s growing freight transport task for the next 50 years.
“Inland Rail will present new growth opportunities for farmers, producers and manufacturers in the regional areas of New South Wales, Queensland and Victoria,” Coulton said.
“Regional businesses have been calling out for world-class transport and logistics to get their products to market and the Australian Government is delivering.
“Today we have shown that the future of an efficient rail freight network is achievable, and will enable effective supply chains, national productivity and competitiveness for our nation.”
The Parkes to Narromine project saw upgrades to 98 kilometres of existing corridor and 5.3 kilometres of new rail.