NARRABRI will host a meeting this week to discuss the next stages of Australia’s multi-billion dollar inland rail project, with the area’s rail network identified as an immediate priority.
Former deputy prime minister John Anderson and the Australian Rail Track Corporation’s (ARTC) Inland Rail project team will be in Narrabri on Wednesday as part of a regional tour through NSW and Queensland to brief local councils, stakeholders and industry representatives.
“The purpose of the meetings are to provide a brief to local community and industry leaders about the current status and plans for Inland Rail and seek feedback about the next stages and priority projects,” Mr Anderson said.
“It’s also an important chance for the team to meet with local stakeholders in person and get an understanding of the unique local opportunities and issues of each region.”
Inland Rail will run between Brisbane and Melbourne via central west NSW and Toowoomba.
The federal government has so far committed $300 million to the project to finalise planning, design, environmental assessments and the first stages of construction.
ARTC has been tasked with developing a 10-year program to deliver the project under the guidance of the Inland Rail Implementation Group, chaired by Mr Anderson.
The group has so far prioritised three sections of the rail line for development, including the upgrading of the track from Narrabri to Moree and North Star.
Member for New England Barnaby Joyce recently had a meeting in Tamworth with several of the region’s mayors and state members about the project’s progress, saying the planning was well under way.
“This nation-building piece of infrastructure will be terribly important to the city of Tamworth, the town of Gunnedah, Narrabri and Moree because this creates a corridor of commerce between Melbourne and Brisbane,” Mr Joyce said.
Providing such a corridor with access to ports in Brisbane and Melbourne, as well as Sydney and Newcastle, he said, would encourage further commercial development in the region.