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MORE than 50 new Adelaide jobs are expected to follow yesterday's signing of an $872 million deal to increase Australian Rail Track Corporation's management of national rail lines.
The agreement by the Federal and New South Wales governments and ARTC gives the company a 60-year lease of major NSW rail lines.
Adelaide-based ARTC will also manage secondary NSW lines for the NSW Government.
ARTC said the funding would create at least 50 new jobs in the next three months at its Mile End head office.
“Those 50-plus people we are recruiting now,” managing director David Marchant said.
“It’s a mixture of some engineers, lawyers, accounting and finance people.”
Mr Marchant said the investment program would “no doubt” create further job opportunities in SA, particularly among local service providers.
Since 1998, ARTC has managed large sections of the national rail grid – mostly in SA, Victoria and Western Australia.
Mr Marchant said the new agreement was part of an extensive reform of the rail industry that had been proceeding for the past 10 years.
“For the first time, the majority of the interstate rail network has been brought under one jurisdiction for the purposes of management, maintenance and investment,” Mr Marchant said.
SA senator and Federal Minister for Finance Nick Minchin said that with SA “at the crossroads of the interstate network ... it is fitting that we play a central role in the upgrade of the national rail network”.
Since 1998, gross tonnages moved across the ARTC network have risen about 20 per cent, with a 6.7 per cent increase in the March quarter.
“The amount of freight carried in Australia by road or rail will more than double by the year 2020,” Mr Marchant said.
“In order for us to deal with this huge increase in rail traffic, (this) agreement can be seen as a key milestone in ensuring that rail can meet that challenge.”
The new funds include a $145 million Federal Government equity investment, $60 million from the NSW Government and $667 million of ARTC’s own funds.
ARTC already had received $450 million in last month’s federal Budget for upgrading works on the east coast.
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