Joyce kicks off with road and rail items

Highway maintenance and Inland Rail steel feature early on

Joyce kicks off with road and rail items
Barnaby Joyce has two new-portfolio announcements up


Barnaby Joyce has begun his tenure as federal transport minister with announcements on road maintenance in Victoria and construction of the Inland Rail project.

Victoria’s Western Highway between Stawell and the South Australian border is to receive $20 million in rehabilitation works, it was announced in conjunction with Victorian roads minister Luke Donnellan and the federal member for Mallee, Andrew Broad.

The move comes as the state government has been heavily criticised for neglect of road infrastructure deterioration outside Melbourne.

"The Western Highway serves as a key transport corridor through Victoria's western district and upgrading this section of the highway will significantly improve safety for all users including farming, tourism and manufacturing interests," Joyce says.

Early works is said to be underway, with major construction due to start in almost immediately.

Completion of the upgrades is due in late 2020.

Meanwhile, first steel of the 14,000 tonnes needed for the Parkes to Narromine section of the Inland Rail project has been delivered.

This follows the awarding of the contract to Liberty OneSteel Whyalla Steelworks in late 2017, with future contracts to be awarded for the remaining rail.

"It will improve travel times for local farmers and producers, reduce the number of heavy vehicles travelling through small towns, and slash business costs for freight operators," Joyce claims.

Federal finance minister Mathias Cormann says Inland Rail will draw more freight from road onto rail, reducing the number of heavy vehicles on Australia's roads.

"Inland Rail will reduce freight transit times between Melbourne and Brisbane to within 24 hours, lower transport costs and improve supply chain access for our farmers and businesses," Cormann says.

Construction of the Parkes to Narromine section is to begin once all necessary approvals have been received.

Works will include reconstruction of the existing track, replacement of bridges and culverts, enhanced level crossings and crossing loops.


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