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Rural groups welcome inland rail as nation building but wait to see details of route and timing.
The Australian Rail Track Corporation has been tasked with delivering the 1,700 kilometre freight rail network between Melbourne and Brisbane.
"Still over the moon, it's way way more than we expected," said NFF President Fiona Simson.
"We've been calling for this investment in inland rail for some time, but the indications were nowhere near the more than $8 billion that came through."
The NFF said now the lion's share of the funding is on the table the project could not only begin but also be completed.
"After decades of talk, we'll be finally building a nation-building piece of infrastructure.
Connectivity key to global competitivenessThe 'one in 100 year' opportunity has been welcomed by the Toowoomba Surat Basin Enterprise executive chairman Shane Charles as a catalyst for a massive expansion in trade and investment in infrastructure and agriculture.
Mr Charles said the Melbourne to Brisbane rail link would provide vital connectivity for cattle and grain producers on the western Queensland line already being upgraded, as well as give central Australia direct access to Hong Kong and beyond through the privately-owned Wellcamp Airport.
"It is critical to our nation, we really need to get on and start cracking along with building as soon as we possibly can and once its started, it's really hard for future governments to pull out of it."
He said he hoped the Opposition would confirm its bipartisan support when the Budget reply was delivered on Thursday night.
"Our agriculture is the most adept at change and most efficient in the world so there's nothing now that can hold us back."
"It's going to be fantastic for regional Australia and give those towns right along the journey a reason to live. This will open up economic opportunities that are really not thought of at this stage for Queenslanders and regional Australians," Mr Charles said.
South Australia misses outWhile this appears to benefit only farmers in Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria, the NFF said it was a sign of long-reaching regional infrastructure, and would help farmers access overseas trade agreements.
But South Australian livestock producers are not bubbling with excitement.
Emil Peucker at Mingbool, in South East South Australia said, "South Australia misses out again … and mobile phones were ignored in the budget".
This article first appeared on www.abc.net.au
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