The NSW government has released the environmental impact statement (EIS) for the North Star to Border (NS2B) section of Inland Rail.
With the EIS now on public exhibition, locals along the alignment are invited to make submissions to the NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment.
The NSW component of the NS2B section will involve upgrading 25km of existing, non-operational track and the construction of 5km of new track.
There will also be civil works including the construction of bridges, viaducts and culverts, as well as improved level crossings, grade separations, and crossing loops.
Another 9km of the section runs through Queensland, and will be approved through a separate EIS process.
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Michael McCormack said the 30km leg was essential in ensuring freight efficiencies.
“We know how important Inland Rail is to the nation — reshaping how freight is moved across the nation while generating more than 16,000 jobs and providing a $16 billion boost to the national economy when and where it is needed most,” McCormack said.
“To deliver Inland Rail and realise these important regional jobs and economic benefits we must ensure the project complies with strict state and commonwealth legislation – the years of work that have informed the NS2B EIS will not be complete until communities have their say.”
The NS2B section crosses the Macintyre River floodplain and community feedback has been involved in the project’s reference design.
Finance Minister Mathias Cormann said that the project would have immediate and ongoing benefits.
“Inland Rail’s fast and efficient freight service will support national productivity and deliver local benefits through construction and operation, which is why I welcome this opportunity for communities along the alignment to engage with the planning and design.”
Local member and Minister for Regional Health, Regional Communications and Local Government Mark Coulton said that the project, once it has progressed through planning approvals, would have a positive impact on the local economy.
“Inland Rail will support around 5,000 jobs during construction across NSW and could support hundreds more for northern NSW by its 10th year of operation.”
Submissions can be made online and the EIS will be displayed at communities near the alignment.