A new chapter in Australia’s economic development was written today with the beginning of construction on the 1,700km Inland Rail project at Parkes, NSW.

“This is Australia’s largest freight rail infrastructure project and today’s significant milestone is welcomed by Australia’s freight rail sector,” said ARA CEO Danny Broad.

“When the line becomes operational in 2025, it will facilitate rail freight direct between Brisbane and Melbourne in less than 24 hours, significantly improving current capacity and transit times.

“Importantly, this will also remove truck movements from major highways which will improve safety, environmental outcomes and will mean north-south freight movements can bypass Sydney,” he said.

Inland Rail will become a key plank of Australia’s freight system, directly connecting Australia’s second and third largest cities by rail, allowing double stacking of containers on trains of up to 1.8km in length.

“Its economic benefit is further enhanced at the intersection at Parkes with the East-West rail line, opening up Adelaide and Perth for traffic, as well as the major NSW ports,” he said.

“Key Infrastructure like Inland Rail will improve the efficiency of our freight system. ARA looks forward to complementary infrastructure initiatives, regulatory reform and planning that will be found in the National Freight and Supply Chain Strategy, to be considered by Transport Ministers in 2019.”

“ARA acknowledges the key role of the Australian Rail Track Corporation, who will build, own and maintain the line. ARTC continues to consult with affected land owners as part of this project.”

$9.3 billion has been committed by the Australian Government for ARTC to develop and build Inland Rail. Additional funds will come from a partnership with the private sector.

16,000 jobs will be created during the construction phase and 700 jobs per year once Inland Rail is operational.

ARA also acknowledges Parkes Shire Council which has been immensely supportive of the project.

During July 2018, ARA and the Australian Logistics Council co-hosted an Inland Rail Conference at Parkes which was attended by over 400 people, looking at the benefits of the project nationally and to regional communities.

The second ARA/ALC Inland Rail Conference will be held in 2019, with planning progressing for the event to be held in Toowoomba on 21-22 August 2019. This will continue the crucial dialogues with industry and communities impacted by the project.” Broad concluded.

Mal Larsen: 0423783667