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Budget boost delivers hope for Inland Rail

The Federal government this week announced two new railway bridges to be built next month between Parkes and Narromine, which will support delivery of the much anticipated Inland Rail project.

The bridges are being built at Tomingley West and Narwonah on the Australian Rail Track Corporation’s (ARTC) national rail network.

The $1.3 million project will see two timber bridges replaced by reinforced concrete culvert structures designed and built to Inland Rail engineering specifications.

Federal Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Darren Chester said the upgrades were particularly significant as the new structures will meet the Inland Rail ‘standard’ – future proofed for longer, heavier and more efficient trains.

“As well as improving part of the existing rail line that connects the national interstate rail networks, these new bridges will be part of the Inland Rail route when it is constructed,” Mr Chester said.

“The Inland Rail project, which will provide a rail freight connection between Melbourne and Brisbane, connecting regional Australia with global markets. The region will play a major role in the delivery of Inland Rail, with the Central West region of New South Wales set to see $480 million in economic benefits from the nationally significant rail project."

bearing in mind it is a $10 billion project, we believe $1 billion is the absolute minimum needed
Tony Mahar, NFF CEO

The National Farmers' Federation (NFF) welcomed the announcement and the recommitment to the Inland Rail Project. However, NFF Chief Executive Tony Mahar said it was now time to support words with action.

“We have welcomed the Government’s almost $900 million commitment so far to the Brisbane to Melbourne inland rail link and we are heartened by media reports this week, that $1 billion has been earmarked for the project in this year's Budget.

“However, bearing in mind it is a $10 billion project, we believe $1 billion is the absolute minimum needed,” Mr Mahar said.

According to Infrastructure Australia, the land freight task between Brisbane and Melbourne is set to increase from about 4.9 million tonnes in 2016 to 13 million tonnes, or about 1.1 million twenty-foot equivalent units (TEU), by 2050.

Managing Director of the Australian Logistics Council, Michael Kilgariff, said this week's provides evidence of progress on the Inland Rail project.

“With the nation’s freight task set to grow by 26% over the next decade, it’s essential that freight operators have access to a supply chain that is both safe and efficient.

“Inland Rail will play a critical part in achieving that objective by allowing more efficient movement of freight, reducing congestion on our key road transport corridors, and creating employment opportunities in regional Victoria, NSW and Queensland.”

Want to see the route proposed for the Inland Rail project? Take a look at the flyover video below.

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