Media Releases → 2020

JOINT MEDIA RELEASE

Rail construction continues with safe work practices

Senator the Hon. Mathias Cormann
Minister for Finance
Leader of the Government in the Senate
Senator for Western Australia

The Hon. Michael McCormack
Deputy Prime Minister
Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development
Leader of The Nationals
Federal Member for Riverina

Date: Thursday, 23 April 2020

The Australian Government has welcomed additional public health and safety measures implemented by the Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC) on national rail infrastructure projects during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Michael McCormack said Inland Rail’s construction would continue with other major construction projects, critical to securing the nation’s freight future.

“More than 1,700 people have worked on Inland Rail since construction began, including 667 locals on the Parkes to Narromine project. The economic injection from this project has been immense with $89 million spent with local businesses and 97 local businesses engaged as suppliers,” Mr McCormack said.

“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. 

“As Transport Minister, I quickly saw the need to prioritise the safe delivery of freight and transport infrastructure during this pandemic and communities can have confidence that all necessary precautions are being taken to protect workers and the communities in which they operate.

“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.

“We all rely on the freight network to deliver the essential supplies such as food, medicine, 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.”

Finance Minister Mathias Cormann said our infrastructure investment program is a key plank of our plan to drive stronger economic growth.

“The Government is continuing to implement its plan to build a stronger economy and create more jobs through the delivery of infrastructure projects,” Minister Cormann said.

“Inland Rail, for example, will deliver a $16 billion boost to Gross Domestic Product during construction and the first 50 years of operation.

“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.

“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.

“Our commitment to Inland Rail is about building Australia’s freight capability to meet increasing demands and we are very happy that this vital work can continue safely.”

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 70 kilometres of the 103 kilometres Parkes to Narromine section of Inland Rail is now complete, with final ancillary work under way.

Find out more about the progress of Inland Rail from the Australian Rail Track Corporation at www.inlandrail.artc.com.au

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