Freight Rail

AusRAIL: New Special Activation Precint for Inland Rail route

NSW deputy premier John Barilaro has announced a newly-defined precinct in Moree will look to energise business growth around the Inland Rail project.

Speaking to AusRAIL Plus 2019 on Tuesday, Barilaro announced NSW’s third special activation precinct (SAP) will leverage the Inland Rail route.

“The benefits to NSW from Inland Rail will only come with the state embracing the federal government’s investment,” Barilaro told delegates.

The new SAP will be located in Moree, a productive grain region which falls directly along the Inland Rail route.

“Moree is set to become a true intermodal hub with road, rail and air transport links available, including connection to the Port of Newcastle, that will enable businesses to access global markets,” according to a government spokesperson.

The SAPs are a NSW government initiative, funded by the proceeds from the Snowy Hydro sale, and intended to “unlock the opportunity for investment in regional NSW” by attracting businesses to those locations. According to a government statement, the Moree SAP will specialise in the agribusiness, logistics and food processing industries.

NSW’s other hubs are Parkes and Wagga Wagga.

Barilaro said some of the benefits of the SAP include fast tracked planning and approvals processes, the guarantee of a thirty day planning decision government-led studies, and a ‘concierge’ service to assist businesses in relocating and navigating government.

“Most importantly, under the special activation precinct, we do all the planning, build all the infrastructure that is shared, shared so as to unlock the potential of industrial precinct,” Barilaro said. “Our budget has us in the black: nil debt, surpluses as far as the eye can see, a future fund that has almost $10 billion in it, and a record infrastructure plan with $93 billion costed, part of the budget over the next four years. It is an exciting time in NSW, at the heart of that, unlocking the state’s prosperity will include rail.

“We have a vision for a vibrant and growing regional economy, providing NSW residents with more jobs, greater opportunities and better quality of life and one of the key elements of our blueprint, our 20-year vision for regional and rural NSW is transport connectivity.”

Key to this, according to Barilaro, is both a fast and faster rail network.

“We believe that it’s with small investments, realignments, and of course the investment of just over $2.3 billion in replacing the whole regional fleet, we have an opportunity to actually increase speeds, and of course timetables, in regional and rural NSW,” he said.

With regards to a fast rail, the government is investigating the Sydney to Canberra, Sydney to Newcastle, Sydney to the central west, and Sydney to the Illawarra corridors. Barilaro says a strategy is due “later this year or early next year”.

“Faster rail and fast rail has to be at the heart of economic development for this state, and as we continue the investment in infrastructure, it is clear that rail has to be at the heart of it,” he said.