The future of freight in Australia will be key to our productivity. This is why I am so passionate about the future of the Inland Rail.
Deputy Prime Minister Warren Truss came to Moree on Friday 7th March to attend the Melbourne to Brisbane Inland Rail Symposium. The Symposium was a great success and I congratulate Moree Plains Shire Council and the Melbourne to Brisbane Inland Rail Alliance on their organisation of the event.
Our freight task is set to double over the next twenty years and investment in rail infrastructure is vital to meeting that task. The Inland Rail from Melbourne to Brisbane has the potential to remove 100 000 trucks from our roads and reduces the time for a freight transferral along the current Melbourne to Brisbane route by nine hours.
As the Symposium was taking place in Moree the first meeting of the Inland Rail Implementation Group chaired by former Deputy Prime Minister John Anderson took place. This Group has been tasked with focusing on the detailed alignment of the new track and options for staging the project and costs.
The Inland Rail has been much talked about over many years now and unfortunately development of the project had stalled under the previous Labor Government. The Coalition Government has committed a first stage investment of $300 million for the Inland Rail as a priority new rail freight project.
The added efficiency and productivity that will be gained from the rail network will benefit the Parkes Electorate. There will be increased opportunity for industry in inland New South Wales which is very exciting for our region.
The Human Services Mobile Service Centre bus will be stopping in both Cobar and Nyngan this week and further drought affected areas in following weeks. This is a great opportunity for farmers to speak directly with representatives from the Department of Human Services about drought assistance and the Interim Farm Household Allowance following the Federal Government’s recent drought package announcement.
The bus, called “Kangaroo Paw”, is visiting the region to assist farmers in lodging a claim and is also able to refer people to other community support organisations for assistance. The staff on Kangaroo Paw have specific experience in regional communities and are available to provide specific advice on drought assistance measures.
The details for Kangaroo Paw’s destinations and opening hours are subject to change and can be found on the Department of Human Services website.
For more information on the Interim Farm Household Allowance, visit humanservices.gov.au/rural or call the Farmer Assistance Hotline on 132 316.
To see which drought-affected communities the Mobile Service Centre will be servicing next, visit humanservices.gov.au/mobileoffice.