Wheeling out hopes

RAIL LINKS: Narromine mayor Craig Davies and Parkes mayor Ken Keith see huge opportuniites for their shires from the Inland Rail project.
RAIL LINKS: Narromine mayor Craig Davies and Parkes mayor Ken Keith see huge opportuniites for their shires from the Inland Rail project.

Local business expansion, introduction of new businesses, freight consolidation and distribution, and industry development are just some benefits Regional Development Australia (RDA) Orana hopes to see from construction and future uses of the Inland Rail link. 

RDA Orana executive officer Megan Dixon said: “From a regional perspective, RDA Orana hopes that the improved access to export markets will result in further industry development, capitalising on the opportunities being present in China and India, particularly around food production and supply. Our region is well placed in terms of ag production for this.” 

“It’s highly possible that more freight will be handled through Narromine, particularly if we can grow our export production,” she said.

Two towns, Parkes and Narromine, are key centres for the 1700km rail project and are hoping it will bring big benefits. 

Narromine is the starting point for a new 307km rail link to Narribri.

Narromine Mayor Craig Davies believes there is massive potential for the shire during building and operation of the project. 

“In terms of benefits we may realise, it is almost impossible to say. We have an enormous amount of work to do in relation to the building of the line in which we hope to secure as much local input as possible,” he said.

Cr Davies believes the opportunities will only increase once the railway is up and running.

“It presents much scope to develop, not only significant grain handling and containerising facilities but also the potential for numerous other businesses and industries to piggy-back off the convenience of having trains able to deliver to five ports ….

“The shire has the potential with this massive initiative to pack much of the grain from the western and north western NSW.” 

Parkes Mayor Ken Keith and general manager Kent Boyd expect a range of opportunities. Parkes is the only point where the Sydney-to-Perth and Inland Rail lines cross and the first point from Sydney to Perth where freight trains can double stack containers.

“Right now Parkes can access all of the ports, except for Brisbane, you have your choice of ports,” Mr Boyd said. “That puts us in a very enviable position.”