ONE-on-one, on-property meetings with landholders will be part of consultations after the announcement of the preferred Border-to-Gowrie Inland Rail route.
Chief executive officer John Fullerton said the Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC) understood that many people had reservations about the preferred route and its impact on their land and communities.
“ARTC is determined to engage and consult as widely and openly as possible so that we understand those concerns,” he said.
Infrastructure and transport minister Darren Chester announced the alignment via Wellcamp and Charlton was the preferred option of the four reviewed.
The 2km wide corridor will now proceed to the planning and approvals phase.
Moree Plains shire mayor Katrina Humphries said: “Every time announcements like this are made in relation to the Inland Rail, it pleases me immensely”.
“This project is a big one for our country; with lots of pieces required to put together the whole picture,” Cr Humphries said.
“It’s great to see that after undertaking due diligence in relation to the options, the government has taken a decision and is moving ahead.
“This is the only way a project of this magnitude will come to fruition.”
Cr Humphries said it was “a great outcome” for her shire.
“We have seen some early wins in our neck of the woods regarding the Inland Rail through collaboration by council, industry and the agricultural sectors to position Moree to take advantage of [it],” she said.
“The upgrading and re-opening of 2.8km rail link east of Moree is an example of recent development benefiting the transport industry.
“For the project to really unlock economic gains for our producers, the alignment into Queensland is obviously essential.
“I know there’s still a long way to go, but [this] announcement is certainly a positive step forward.”
Jobs on the line
Parkes mayor and Melbourne to Brisbane Inland Rail Alliance (MBIRA) chairman, Ken Keith OAM, said the alignment would inject billions of dollars into the regional economies along it.
“It’s expected that during construction, up to 16,000 direct jobs will be created with an average of 800 new jobs per year, and an additional 700 jobs per year once operational on average – a huge boost to these regional communities,” Cr Keith said.
“Furthermore, efficient rail access provides a range of opportunities, increasing the competitiveness of agriculture and opening up our export markets to compete in the world market.
“This gives industry confidence in investing in regional NSW, Queensland and Victoria.”
In recent weeks, ARTC has called for expressions of interest for contractors to construct the Parkes to Narromine section of the Inland Rail Project.