Local governments, businesses, farmers, state and federal governments and related departments and agencies were included in the discussions about the project.
It aimed to provide information and advice to help locals to realise the direct and indirect opportunities available to them from the Inland Rail project.
The project aims to reduce freight transport costs by $10 per tonne, ease pressure on roads and highways by removing 200,000 truck movements and reduce carbon emissions from transporting freight by 750,000 tonnes every year by 2050.
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Michael McCormack said the Federal Government and the Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC) are working together with community members to manage specific issues and explain Inland Rail’s potential through the consultation process.
“We are listening to what stakeholders are saying and we are also explaining and providing details of where and how they can take advantage of the jobs and economic opportunities which go with this nation-building project,” Mr McCormack said.
“The Federal Government is committed to ensuring this once-in-a-generation rail project delivers for regional Australians and enhances the national economy, moving freight more efficiently and safely to growing markets here and overseas.
“Inland Rail is a transformational freight rail line and the Australian Government’s multi-billion dollar investment is backed by our commitment to the ongoing work we are doing on the ground, to roll it out responsibly and maintain community engagement.”
Minister for Finance and the Public Service Mathias Cormann said the project’s benefits will be realised across the NSW economy.
“In NSW alone, Inland Rail will boost the Gross State Product by $2.6 billion and create around 5000 jobs during construction and through to operation,” he said.
“We are already seeing direct employment opportunities for regional communities in NSW as well as complementary investment in towns along the route, such as the $50 million Parkes National Logistics Hub.”
Total investment into the project has reached $9.3 billion from both the Federal Government and ARTC.
The project will use 1200 kilometres of existing rail corridors with an additional 500 kilometres of new track to be constructed.