Inland Rail’s construction is continuing along with other major construction projects, with the safe delivery of freight and transport infrastructure a high priority.
The Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC) has implemented additional public health and safety measures on national rail infrastructure projects during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Michael McCormack, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development said he has the confidence that all necessary precautions are being taken to protect workers and the communities in which they operate.
“Now more than ever, we need these essential construction services and the economic stimulus to continue, not just to keep people in work, but to ensure we’re in the best place possible to build momentum when we see through this global health crisis,” he said.
“Additional measures put in place by the ARTC and its contractors to protect the health and safety of workers and the local community mean we can continue to deliver projects, such as the transformational Inland Rail.”
McCormack said everyone relies on the freight network to deliver the essential supplies such as food, medicine, and medical equipment, which are critical now more than ever.
“I thank the freight and construction workers who are essential to maintaining our supply chains and laying the ground work for Australia’s freight future,” he said.
More than 1,700 people have worked on Inland Rail since construction began, including 667 locals on the Parkes to Narromine project.
McCormack said the economic injection from this project has been immense with $89 million spent with local businesses and 97 local businesses engaged as suppliers.
More than 165,000 tonnes of ballast has been laid and one million tonnes of earthworks completed since the first sod was turned in Parkes in December 2018.
A total 70km of the 103-kilometre Parkes to Narromine section of Inland Rail is now complete, with final ancillary work under way.
Mathias Cormann, finance minister, said Inland Rail will deliver a $16 billion boost to gross domestic product during construction and the first 50 years of operation.
“Inland Rail will support 5,000 jobs in New South Wales and we are already seeing the benefits of this in Parkes and the surrounding region, with a boost to employment and supplier contracts flowing from construction,” he said.
Cormann said the government is committed to Inland Rail to build Australia’s freight capability and meet increasing demands.
“We are very happy that this vital work can continue safely,” he said.
“It is important that we progress these long-term infrastructure projects to create jobs for Australians, sustain economic activity and to support the recovery on the other side of the COVID-19 crisis.”