Inland Rail major works underway in North West NSW
As a long champion of the Inland Rail project, it was great to celebrate the start of major construction on the Narrabri to North Star section (phase one) in Gurley last Monday, with 9500 sleepers and 11kms of track already removed.
It was wonderful to be joined by key local government representatives, Greg Smith of Moree Plains Shire, Ron Campbell of Narrabri Shire, Jamie Chaffey of Gunnedah Shire and John Coulton of Gwydir Shire, along with Inland Rail Director of Planning, Communications and Stakeholder Relations Rebecca Pickering.
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. These works will bring economic stimulus to regional communities of Narrabri, Bellata, Moree and North Star.
I was excited to learn that 117 people have been employed for this section already, with 26 per cent of these locals and 15 per cent Indigenous workers. These figures are changing every day as a new wave of prosperity enters the region.
Also, I was pleased to welcome the Australian Rail Track Corporation’s announcement to partner with their telecommunications provider Telstra to undertake a detailed feasibility study to explore opportunities to deliver improved mobile telecommunications along the Inland Rail corridor from Narrabri to North Star. It’s clear that many significant initiatives are coming from this exciting rail project that will provide meaningful benefits long after the construction is finished.
The future of freight is ‘ROSI’ in Moree
I was delighted to announce last week $35.2 million to construct the new $44 million Moree Intermodal Overpass which will improve freight connections and help lower business costs in the region under the Roads of Strategic Importance initiative.
This project is a significant step to ensure Moree’s future as the freight hub of the North West and is a big win for Moree Plains Shire Council.
The funding will enable the construction of a new overpass and connecting roads to ensure there are effective links in place to the Newell Highway in the West and Bullus Drive in the east.
Inland Rail is a catalyst for growth in the regions, and improving freight connections between the Newell Highway and Inland Rail will ensure that goods get to ports and markets more quickly and safely.
Western Division Councils Conference
I was thrilled to be in Broken Hill last week for the Western Division of Councils Annual Conference, which was themed “The Four Pillars of Sustainability – Human, Social, Economic and Environment”.
The Parkes electorate incorporates many Western Division councils. The conference offered an opportunity to discuss issues facing our communities and local-based solutions adopted to deal with these challenges, including recovery from the drought and COVID-19 pandemic. It’s no secret our regions are strong and resilient – a message I was proud to convey.
While in the Far West, I enjoyed catching up with Regional Development Australia Far West CEO Michael Williams and Tibooburra Village Committee Chair Dan Hough in Tibooburra for a visit to the completed pump track – one of the many projects now benefitting locals under the Drought Communities Programme – to improve local roads and community infrastructure, and ultimately stimulate local jobs.
Photo: Federal Member for Parkes Mark Coulton was joined by Narrabri Mayor Ron Campbell, Gunnedah Mayor Jamie Chaffey, Gwydir Mayor John Coulton, Moree Deputy Mayor Greg Smith, and representatives of the ARTC and Trans4m to celebrate construction starting on Inland Rail Narrabri to North Star.