SOME of the biggest challenges facing the Inland Rail project have been highlighted in a new government report.
Earlier this week, the Legislative Assembly’s Committee on Investment, Industry and Regional Development released its report on the 1,700 km rail project that will run from Melbourne to Brisbane, and made 10 recommendations for solve some of the problems facing the project.
Improving the state’s existing freight infrastructure was among the committee’s recommendations, along with exploring additional intermodal terminals in more towns along the rail line and for the state government to facilitate a central point of contact for interior rail projects.
In addition to 10 recommendations, the report also included seven findings from the committee’s public consultation process, which drew 46 submissions and two public hearings.
Among its findings, a number of regional communities were concerned about the current proposed route, particularly the Narromine section to Narrabri, as well as residents unhappy with the consultation process of the Australian Rail Track Corporation.
Committee chairman and MP for Albury Justin Clancy said while most stakeholders saw the economic benefits of the project, it was important that the issues be addressed to ensure the state gets the most out of it. .
“The project provides opportunities to attract skilled workers to regional communities, develop the local workforce through training and development, and attract new and diverse industries,” said Mr. Clancy. .
“It is important to connect businesses and regional communities to Inland Rail, especially for communities that are not directly located along the Inland Rail route. “
Parkes MP Mark Coulton, whose electorate is home to much of the project, said the federal government has already committed to funding business cases to improve existing rail infrastructure.
“There is no doubt that towns like Gilgandra, Walgett and Goondiwindi, which are not directly on the line, will see the benefits of this project,” Coulton said.
“The federal government is committed to making this project a reality and improving the existing infrastructure is critical to the overall success of this project.
Mr Coulton said consultation with affected landowners was continuing in his electorate.
“It is in the nature of large infrastructure projects like this that people can be excluded, so it is important that people participate in the consultation so that they are fairly paid,” he said. .
“This week I will be celebrating 14 years as an MP and in my first speech I spoke about the Inland Rail project.
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