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GOVERNMENT is talking up the value of Inland Rail, saying it has the potential to deliver a boost of up to $13.3 billion to regional Australia over the next 50 years.
A new report prepared for the Australian Government by advisory firm EY shows regional communities across Queensland, NSW and Victoria will benefit from the construction of Inland Rail.
Mr McCormack, who is also the Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development, said the in-depth study demonstrated the potential for complementary industry investment alongside the rail line to generate billions in added value for regional communities.
"Inland Rail is going to draw industry to regional Australia where the enhanced freight rail network will connect companies and consumers both domestically and internationally," Mr McCormack said.
"What the EY report is assessing is the additional benefit to communities from the opportunities that arise for local businesses and people from the completion of Inland Rail.
"For example, it might be a cereal manufacturer whose freight costs drop by 30 per cent allowing the employment of additional staff, or it might be the expansion of regional processing that takes advantage of Inland Rail's lower coat and greater capacity and connectivity.
"These investments could support an additional 14,000-16,000 job years in its first decade of operation - that's 1600 people working full time for 10 years thanks to Inland Rail."
Mr McCormack said regional communities were primed to take advantage of the manufacturing, packing facilities, meat processing plants, regional airports and distribution centres that would establish and expand around the rail line.
"The benefits of this project are going to be felt across generations," Mr McCormack said.
"Inland Rail gives us hope of retaining young people with jobs in their backyard, attracting new contributors to local economies and protecting the community services our regions need to thrive.
"Inland Rail gives these communities new ways to grow and rebuild with better connections to interstate and international markets, new jobs and a stronger case for attracting public and private investment."
The report comes as Mr McCormack comes under increasing pressure from landholders to shift the Inland Rail Route off the Condamine River floodplain.
This article first appeared on www.queenslandcountrylife.com.au
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