A CITY like Bathurst might question why it missed out on being part of the Inland Rail corridor but it will still benefit from easy access to the line, according to Member for Parkes Mark Coulton.
Mr Coulton was with Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure Barnaby Joyce in Peak Hill on Monday as the first 500 tonnes of steel were delivered for the Inland Rail section between Parkes and Narromine.
“A lot of people have the idea the Inland Rail is a train, and it has to stop in their backyard, but it’s the infrastructure of the track and its benefits go further and wider,” Mr Coulton said.
“I think we will start to see private operators embrace it, seeing the opportunity to go into more capital cities.
“At the moment a lot of produce goes over the Blue Mountains, but this will open up other opportunities.”
While a small number of locations will be on the rail line, including Parkes and Narromine, all towns and cities will benefit from improved freight access and the boost to the regional economy, Mr Joyce said.
He said the Inland Rail project would contribute to a stronger, more resilient nation.
A total of 14,000 tonnes of steel will be needed to complete the 107-kilometre line between Parkes and Narromine.
More will continue to be delivered over the next month.
Construction is expected to begin in the next few months.
The Federal Government has calculated that the Central West’s economy will benefit by $480 million through investment and employment.
“This is a great day for regional Australia, but more importantly this is a tremendous day for the nation,” Mr Joyce said.
“Today we are seeing pieces of steel 165 metres long being unloaded so that we can bring trains that are 1.8 kilometres long and move them at speeds of 115 to 120 kilometres an hour, to give people in rural areas the capacity to be part of this corridor of commerce.
At the moment a lot of produce goes over the Blue Mountains but this will open up other opportunities.
“It will improve travel times for local farmers and producers, reduce the number of heavy vehicles travelling through towns and slash business costs for freight operators.”