Parkes was a political hot spot last Friday when Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack and NSW Deputy Premier John Barilaro put the Inland Rail project on the right track by signing a landmark bilateral agreement.
The Intergovernmental Agreement between the Federal and NSW Governments was signed at the Parkes Railway Station and makes way for the commencement of works on the multi-billion dollar Inland Rail project in NSW.
NSW is the second state after Victoria to sign up to the significant project providing consent for the Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC) to deliver Inland Rail in NSW.
Deputy Prime Minister said it was a landmark moment for the project and a significant day for Parkes destined to become a major hub on the 1,700km long line. “Henry Parkes, after which this town was named, had a vision for the nation and Inland Rail is sharing in that vision.”
He said 60% or 1,050km of the line will be in NSW linking up the ports of Melbourne and Brisbane boosting the state’s gross domestic product (GDP) to $2.6 billion per year.
“This means the world for Parkes and all of Australia’s farmers and small businesses taking our products from farm gate to Asian plate.” Deputy Premier Barilaro congratulated Parkes on its vision, saying as a logistics centre for Inland Rail, the town would become an inland port. “Parkes is going to be a very different place because of Inland Rail.” He said the project would not only grow regional communities and bring additional government services, but also reduce congestion on roads. “Inland Rail has the potential to completely reinvigorate parts of regional NSW, well beyond the thousands of jobs that will be created in the construction phase,” he said.
Construction on the Inland Rail project is due to commence within six months on the Parkes to Narromine section with 14,000 tonnes of steel rail delivered at Peak Hill in January. The project will create a direct rail freight connection between Melbourne and Brisbane capable of moving double stacked freight containers of up to 1.8km long at speeds of up to 120km/h. Once operational, Inland Rail will attract more freight to rail, diverting traffic from the Newell, Hume and Pacific Highways, and in turn freeing up space in the Sydney Metro area for more passenger services.