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Inland Rail eyes strong 2024 progress with start of next stage

The new Inland Rail CEO has told ARA conference delegates that the next stage of works is getting the project off to a hot start in 2024

The Inland Rail is on track for strong progress in 2024 according to new Inland Rail CEO Nick Miller, with the next stage of works beginning in Victoria.

Making his first public speech as Inland Rail CEO at the Australasian Railway Association (ARA) freight conference in Sydney last week, Nick Miller says the Inland Rail is primed for a strong year as it seeks to complete the Beveridge to Parkes sections by 2027 in line with review recommendations.

After recently finishing possession works on the Victorian Beveridge to Albury project and the NSW Stockinbingal to Parkes section, Miller told the conference that the project is on track for a productive 2024.

With environmental approvals progressing well in NSW and the state government in the final stages of the approvals processes for southern NSW sections, the federal government has also approved the Narromine to Narrabri section.

Miller says Inland Rail is hoping to finalise the environmental impact statement for the Border to Gowrie section with the Queensland coordinator general in the coming months.

“Inland Rail is one of the biggest infrastructure projects ever undertaken by the federal government – it is a critical part of the transport supply chain and the economic development of Australia and is needed to keep pace with the freight demands of our growing population,” Miller says.

“Like all major projects Inland Rail has had its share of setbacks and challenges, and I dare say there are more to come in the years ahead.

“However, let’s make one thing clear, Inland Rail is not a ‘stalled project’, we are making strong progress on the ground, two sections have already been completed in New South Wales, work is well underway on a third, and we should receive two more major environmental approvals in the coming months.”

Miller says Inland Rail is already delivering direct benefits to rural and regional communities during construction, with more than $420 million spent with over 530 local businesses and roughly $42 million spent with nearly 30 First Nations businesses.

“More importantly, we are also delivering significant benefits for regional communities. Last month we saw the first GrainCorp train travel on the upgraded Narrabri to North Star line, picking up canola at Croppa Creek and taking it all the way down to the Port of Newcastle for global export,” Miller says.

“This is what Inland Rail is all about, opening up new opportunities for our critical primary producers in rural and regional Australia, allowing them to take get their products to domestic and international markets quickly and cost effectively.”

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