THE Commonwealth and New South Wales governments have given the green light for construction to begin on the Parkes to Narromine section of Inland Rail.
Deputy Prime Minister and infrastructure minister Michael McCormack said Inland Rail the environmental approvals were a vital step in making the Inland Rail vision a reality.
“I am excited for the first section of Inland Rail construction to commence, with $9.3bn in federal government investment,” he said.
“Communities across regional Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland will see the benefit of better access to markets at home and overseas, as well as ensuring Australia meets the challenge of our freight task which is set to double.”
Minister for finance Mathias Cormann said: “Through the investment in Inland Rail, the Australian government is delivering on its commitment to increase freight productivity, ease road congestion and streamline supply chains for businesses and consumers”.
Minister for the Environment Melissa Price said final approval for these works under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act was provided by the Department of the Environment and Energy this week.
“The Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC) can start its upgrade to the 106 kilometres of track between these two important regional service centres,” she said.
NSW minister for roads, maritime and freight Melinda Pavey welcomed the next step toward making the Parkes to Narromine section a reality.
“The capacity to move freight efficiently and reliably is the single most important factor in ensuring the continued health of our domestic economy, and in growing and maintaining economic competitiveness,” she said.
Federal member for Parkes Mark Coulton said he was pleased to see regional Australians are ready for Inland Rail.
“Inland Rail was what made me get off the tractor and put my hand up for Parliament – this is going to be a transformational investment in communities throughout Western NSW,” he said.
NSW Minister for Planning and Housing Anthony Roberts said approval for these works under the NSW Environmental Planning and Assessment Act was provided by the New South Wales Department of Planning and Environment previously.
“I’m pleased to see both governments give the green light for the first Inland Rail project to begin,” Mr Roberts said.
“Our freight network supports economic growth in New South Wales, however the existing freight rail line is constrained as it travels through the congested Sydney network, bypassing some of the state’s most productive agricultural regions.”