Inland Rail section open in time for harvest
Farmers and producers in the North West will be able to take full advantage of the current strong agricultural export prices with a key section of the enhanced Inland Rail freight line open ahead of the grain harvest season.
Upgrades to a 29-kilometre stretch of the Narrabri to North Star section of the track are now complete, on time and as promised to local growers and businesses, and it was great to celebrate this with Acting Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce in Moree last week.
Opening the rail line means that traders and packers such as GrainCorp, Arrow, CHS Broadbent and Louis Dreyfus can freight bulk grains from North West New South Wales for export through the Port of Newcastle and Port Botany – helping to realise Australia’s record growth in agricultural exports.
ARTC is continuing the work to deliver the Narrabri to North Star Phase one project with its contracting partners, north and south of the active section of track. In the next stage, between Camurra and North Star, construction is underway as stripping of the old track continues, along with earthworks, lime stabilisation and rail bridge demolition and construction works.
Out and about in Broken Hill
It was fantastic to finally get out to Broken Hill and Silverton last week, following months of lockdown which prevented me to travelling to this part of my electorate.
During my visit I met with Broken Hill Mayor Darriea Turley AM to see and hear first-hand just what a difference the CBD revitalisation and activation project will have on the silver city. I’m so pleased to have been able to secure $8.7 million in Federal Government funding for this project which is set to enhance the CBD for the better.
It was also wonderful to inspect a number of completed projects around Broken Hill, including new lights at Alma Oval and the Norm Fox Soccer Oval, funded under the Federal Government’s Drought Communities Programme, and new footpaths funded through the successful Local Roads and Community Infrastructure program. I’m pleased to have been able to deliver these projects for the Broken Hill community and will continue to work to secure further funding for important upgrades like this, helping to improve the liveability and attract people to town.
A key part of my visit to Broken Hill was a meeting with stakeholders and local steering committee for a drug and alcohol detox and rehabilitation centre. This project is now a step closer to becoming a reality following the productive meeting, with the steering committee to seek state and federal government funding. I’m committed to working with all the stakeholders to help turn this long-held vision into a reality.
Remote roads targeted in new funding program
Last week I was also pleased to announce a new $150 million program targeting neglected, unsealed roads that local councils would otherwise not have the funding to maintain.
The Remote Roads Upgrade Pilot Program will make a real difference to communities across the Parkes electorate, with funding to be used by councils to improve local access and address safety risks.
The Coalition Government recognises local government bears the brunt of the often significant costs of upgrading rural and regional roads, and we are stepping in to back councils to undertake crucial works.
Nobody should be cut off from their township because of the condition of the roads, so we will partner with local government to deliver this funding and address many neglected roads that most people don’t see, ensuring our regional communities get the safe and efficient road connections they deserve.
Best wishes for the HSC
I would like to take this opportunity to wish the best of luck to all the year 12 students about to sit their Higher School Certificate exams this week.
You should all be so proud to have made it this far, getting through the most difficult final two years of schooling that anyone has had to deal with. Having to contend with online learning for a large chunk of these past two years can’t have been easy, and I commend you on stepping up and adapting to the challenges thrown at you.
The finish line is now in sight, and I wish each and every one of you all the very best as you sit your exams. Remember to look after yourselves during this time and know that you should all be very optimistic about the future.