THE AUSTRALIAN government as approved the Inland Rail Narromine to Narrabri project.

The 300-kilometre stretch of track between Narromine and Narrabri is the longest section of the vast Inland Rail project.

The Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water approved the project under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 following approval from the NSW government in February 2023.

The Inland Rail company considers this latest approval an important step in a staged process the federal government agreed to last year, when it accepted all 19 recommendations of an independent review by Kerry Schott.

The company said the approval would underpin the next stage of design for the project, providing “more certainty” that the Inland Rail can be built to an agreed budget and timeframe.

Inland Rail director pre-contracts Rob Storey said the Narromine to Narrabri section is “a key link in the future Inland Rail supply chain” and in reaching a less-than-24-hour freight transit time between Melbourne and Brisbane

“Now that we have a full suite of approval conditions, the survey and investigation activities are critical inputs to the next stage of design and securing the land needed for the Narromine to Narrabri project corridor,” Mr Storey said.

“Inland Rail acknowledges the important input from the community, local landowners and businesses during the approvals process and remains committed to working with stakeholders.

“Inland Rail will support the shift of more goods onto rail, meaning faster, more reliable freight; safer, less congested roads; and fewer emissions.”

Once constructed, the Narromine to Narrabri project would link the completed Parkes to Narromine and Narrabri to North Star Phase 1 projects, providing new freight capacity and improved connectivity to ports on the east coast and westwards via Parkes to Adelaide and Perth.