The Federal and New South Wales Government have signed a Bilateral Agreement which makes way for commencement of works on Inland Rail in NSW – the second state to do so.
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure Michael McCormack and NSW Deputy Premier and Minister for Regional NSW John Barilaro today signed the Intergovernmental Agreement in Parkes.
NSW is now the second state to sign up to the project, with the Victorian Government signing an agreement in March this year.
The new agreement provides consent for the Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC) to deliver Inland Rail in NSW.
Minister for Finance Mathias Cormann said the agreement provides certainty for the delivery of Inland Rail in NSW, and includes a commitment to negotiate a new long-term lease with the ARTC and protect the rail corridor.
“While construction for the Parkes to Narromine section will commence in the coming months, the agreement provides the guiding principles for the delivery of new sections of Inland Rail, including the 307-km corridor of new rail between Narromine and Narrabri,” Mr. Cormann said.
“Inland Rail will provide the critical infrastructure needed to ensure Australia remains competitive by ensuring our freight and supply chain is modernised and productive to deal with the expected doubling of the freight task over the next 20 years.”
Mr. Barilaro said Inland Rail will deliver widespread benefits throughout the state, including reduced congestion on roads and rail, and will importantly pave the way for the development of inland ports in regional NSW.
“Inland Rail has the potential to completely reinvigorate parts of regional NSW, well beyond the thousands of jobs that will be created in the construction phase,” Mr. Barilaro said.
“This is all about helping NSW farmers get their product from paddock to port as cheaply and efficiently as possible, and in turn, putting money back in the pockets of those producers to reinvest in their businesses or spend in their regional and rural towns.
“What today’s agreement shows is that across all levels of government, there is a commitment to invest heavily in our regions, and a commitment to co-operate to deliver a transformational project not just for NSW, but for the country.”
NSW Minister for Transport and Infrastructure Andrew Constance said the NSW Government was excited to see the benefits of the priority project.
“Infrastructure Australia has listed Inland Rail as a ‘priority’ project for good reason: it is a solution to the long-term freight challenge Australia faces,” Mr. Constance said.
“It will improve freight travel times for local farmers and producers, support thousands of jobs and improve road safety, reliability and productivity on our freight network.”
The project will create a direct rail freight connection between Melbourne and Brisbane capable of moving double stacked freight containers.