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The Narrabri to North Star section of the Inland Rail is another major step closer to construction, with Trans4m Rail awarded the $693 million contract to upgrade the 171km stretch of rail.
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Michael McCormack announced the news on Monday, welcoming the Australian Rail Track Corporation signing the contract with Trans4m Rail, a joint-venture between John Holland and SEE Civil.
He said it represents a significant milestone for Inland Rail.
"Inland Rail is going to change the freight task in Australia and in doing so will create opportunity in regional Australia with unprecedented investment and job creation," he said.
"This nationally significant infrastructure is being built by the skills and expertise of Australian businesses - businesses that invest locally, drive regional employment and give back to communities along this 1,700km corridor of commerce.
"We want to see regional Australia open for business. This $693.8 million contract with Trans4m Rail, along with the delivery of almost 25,000 tonnes of steel over the past 18 months, puts us closer to construction and the benefits of Inland Rail in North West NSW."
Finance Minister Simon Birmingham said that in addition to enhancing Australian freight infrastructure and strengthening supply chains, Inland Rail construction was also supporting thousands of Australian businesses and jobs.
"With the award of this contract, there will be flow-on effects through the economy with more local businesses and suppliers set to come on-board and support Inland Rail construction," he said.
"The upgrade of another 171km of track is another important piece in the puzzle to delivering better and quicker freight access to our primary producers in regional Australia, helping them get their product to markets in Australia and overseas with more ease."
Local member for Parkes and Minister for Regional Health, Regional Communications and Local Government Mark Coulton said construction of the Narrabri to North Star section of Inland Rail would begin before the end of 2020, delivering jobs and investment to the region.
"Inland Rail will leave a legacy for regional areas - including North West NSW - for decades to come, providing world-class transport and logistics to help regional businesses get their products to market," he said.
"This project is about more than just steel tracks - we're already seeing opportunities for industry to invest in the region through the Northern NSW Inland Port at Narrabri and the Moree Special Activation Precinct - leveraging the advantages of Inland Rail to provide long-term employment and scope for future growth.
"Trans4m Rail has made a commitment to employ local people, engage local businesses and suppliers and work with communities in North West NSW to ensure the benefits of Inland Rail are felt throughout the community."
In December 2019, three firms were shortlisted to deliver this main works contract and entered into a formal Request for Tender process from which Trans4m Rail was appointed.
Trans4m Rail will deliver construction of the first phase of work, which involves the upgrade of existing rail line between Narrabri and North Star.
Further design work will progress on the second phase of Narrabri to North Star construction which will see the development of an EIS for the construction of new track between Moree and Camurra.
For more information on Inland Rail and the Narrabri to North Star project visit InlandRail.gov.au.
This article first appeared on www.moreechampion.com.au
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