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8 October, 2021

Inland Rail takes off

The Inland Rail project has now become a ‘when’, rather than ‘if’, with the announcement that contractors have been appointed.

By Emily Middleton

The appointment of contractors for Inland Rail signals a new phase in the project. Photo supplied by Unsplash.

“It’s probably the biggest announcement in quite a while because it’s the first real announcement that sends a pretty strong signal that this is actually a real project and it’s going to be built,” said Gilgandra Shire Council’s Inland Rail manager, Randall Medd.

ARTC Inland Rail has announced a 50-50 joint venture between ACCIONA and CPB Contractors Joint Venture (ACACPB JV), as the preferred proponents to work with ARTC on the Southern Civil Works Program. The program includes approximately 306 kilometres of the construction of new alignment within the Narromine to Narrabri section of Inland Rail.

Gilgandra Shire Council mayor, Doug Batten, has said this is the first announcement that provides a clear indication that Inland Rail is beginning construction.

“For the last four years we have seen announcements regarding project planning and investigations, which are required happen, however this is the first major announcement that proves to our community, Inland Rail is a real project in this region and is no longer an “if” but now a “when”.”

Cr Batten said it will signal an increase in activity as several processes are likely to run in parallel.

“ARTC Inland Rail are continuing their environmental approvals under State Significant Infrastructure (SSI), which is an ongoing process. The media statements from ARTC Inland Rail indicate ACACPB JV will be working on the final design work so there is a distinct possibility we will have several processes happening at once, leading to increased activity for Council, community and other stakeholders.”

Cr Batten was optimistic the Inland Rail preparations and industry engagement council has been involved with will position Gilgandra Region well as an opportunity to be a major construction hub for the N2N project.

“Council has been engaging with industry for close to four years now to understand how to be ready for Inland Rail construction. We have built some key relationships including with the companies that form part of the ACACPB JV and we look forward to welcoming them into the community as valuable corporate citizens that leave a positive legacy in our region.”

Now is the time for local businesses to start considering how they prepare for this project.

“Council will be working with ARTC Inland Rail, the Federal Government and ACACPB JV to ensure local participation opportunities are available for local businesses and people. Having said that, this is a major infrastructure project and businesses are going to need to ensure they have systems in place to be involved, be that WHS, invoicing, tendering, and quoting and supply capacity. We will do our best to help educate and upskill individuals in the region and we encourage businesses to understand requirements of the opportunity to best make an educate decisions whether to plan to be involved.”


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