Photo caption: Federal Member for Parkes Mark Coulton (right) recently inspected the Moree Accommodation Village with N2NS Construction Manager Joe Keown.
The Narrabri to North Star (N2NS) project is continuing to change and present opportunities in the communities of Moree and Narrabri.
More than 571 people have worked on the N2NS project, including 158 local residents, while $26.5 million has been spent with local businesses since construction commenced in September 2020.
Federal Member for Parkes Mark Coulton said people have been talking about an Inland Rail line for more than a century and the Australian Government is now making it a reality.
“We understand that the country is facing an ongoing battle with COVID-19 at the moment, however it is essential we continue progressing this project to support the Australian economy, get people in jobs and for our industries to be open and ready for business,” Mr Coulton said.
A major focal point of the project in the Moree area is the 350-bed accommodation village for workers which was completed in July.
“This accommodation facility means that the crews working on Inland Rail are able to remain as COVID safe as possible, shielding workers and the community from transmission while still getting the job done,” Mr Coulton said.
“It has also helped limit the amount of fly in and fly out workers coming to the region and taken pressure off the local rental market, as well as providing a number of locals with stable, ongoing employment.
“For local apprentice chef Shakira Washington, work at the accommodation village has given her the opportunity to pursue her dream of working in her chosen field.”
“This job has really changed my life. I’m preparing meals for dinner at the camp and I’m very thankful to have this opportunity to learn a life skill,” Ms Washington said.
The Moree accommodation village is administered by Blackdown Accommodation Services who provide catering, housekeeping, grounds maintenance and recreation services for the on-site workers. There are 24 staff employed at the village, while additional goods are sourced from local businesses like Mayco Foods.
Mayco owner Victor Djurlic said the family-owned Australian business supplied around 200 products to the accommodation village, adding that construction on Inland Rail has changed the town for the better.
“The Inland Rail project is helping us to get more jobs and hopefully it brings more people into town to stay,” Mr Djurlic said.
“It has boosted our business a lot and, in fact, I can’t find enough workers to help. This a good problem to have though as more jobs is helping the town to grow again.”
Mr Coulton said the North West was benefitting from job creation in the short term, but that there will also be long-term benefit to New South Wales through jobs creation, investment in local businesses and improvements to freight network.
“Inland Rail will support more than 7,500 jobs during construction and deliver a boost to New South Wales Gross State Product of more than $3.4 billion during construction and the first 50 years of operation,” Mr Coulton said.
“As each section of Inland Rail is completed, the freight rail line will transfer into the national network, making Inland Rail’s fast and reliable service available to industry and regional producers across Australia.
“Large-scale infrastructure projects are a key driver of growth – boosting economic development and bringing investment, while creating jobs and opportunities for local businesses. Inland Rail will be that catalyst in North West NSW.
“Businesses will see a significant boost from construction – everything from concrete supply, transportation, fencing and earthmoving to drainage, electrical works, accommodation services and hospitality.
“This infrastructure delivers more for regional Australia than the immediate construction boost. The long-term benefits of Inland Rail will better connect our region to far-reaching ports and create new supply chains to better move the wheat, barley and produce we are famous for.”