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Inland Rail community projects get $44M boost

Sixteen local projects in communities alongside the Inland Rail route will benefit from $44 million in Federal funding and support.

The Inland Rail Interface Improvement Program aims to allow project proposals, including intermodal hubs and new freight provisioning centres, to develop pre-feasibility studies, feasibility studies and strategic business cases.

Deputy Prime Minister and  Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Minister Michael McCormack said an EY Australia-led consortium had been commissioned to further develop the proposals with the successful organisations and groups.

“An intermodal facility at Mangalore, expanded freight infrastructure in the Riverina, road upgrades for a rail spur in Croppa Creek, and rail upgrades between Kurumbul to Thallon are just some of big connectivity ideas that we are supporting through the Interface Improvement Program,” McCormack said.

“Inland Rail has always been about far more than building a rail line. It’s about investing in our national freight network, enhancing supply chains and bringing jobs and economic opportunity to regional Australia.”

The overall project is expected to boost GDP by $16 billion and support 16,000 jobs during construction.

“The complementary businesses, manufacturers and logistics hubs that establish along this freight rail line will provide sustained employment for people in regional Australia and boost gross regional product by up to $13.3 billion over the long term,” McCormack said.

Regional Health, Regional Communications and Local Government Minister Mark Coulton said the Inland Rail Interface Improvement Program provided the valuable opportunity for local government, industries and regional communities to set the agenda for further investment and regional development ideas that connect to Inland Rail.

“No one understands regional Australia better than those who live there and I am pleased local government, industry and community representatives have taken the opportunity to submit ideas in the first round of the Interface Improvement Program,” Coulton said.

“We are backing local ideas because we know that the connections to Inland Rail will be critical to create economic uplift and ongoing jobs in our regions.”

Proposals received through the Expression of Interest process were assessed by the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications, and by its independent assurance and technical advisor.

Eligibility to progress to proposal development was assessed against the Interface Improvement Program principles and information requirements.

These principals included supporting regional economic growth, capacity to increase Inland Rail throughput and supporting National Freight and Supply Chain Priorities.

Proposals will be developed through pre-feasibility or feasibility studies and strategic business cases, depending on the individual project proposal.

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