An in-depth report on the benefits of Inland Rail to northern NSW has found that the rail line will support $160 million worth of value of goods and services across 16 local government areas in its 10th year of operations.
In particular, sectors including food, grain, transport, and logistics are expected to benefit from additional investment once Inland Rail begins operating from Goondiwindi to Narromine.
The findings are part of an ongoing study conducted by accounting firm EY on behalf of the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications into the regional opportunities that will be derived from Inland Rail’s operation. Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Michael McCormack said that the report should motivate industry to invest in regional NSW.
“Inland Rail will provide benefits in regional communities for decades to come so we want to see industries expand outside metropolitan areas by taking advantage of the significant infrastructure we are delivering, lower land costs, resources and the ready and willing regional workforce.”
An overall report was released in March, which found that the rail line will deliver a boost of $11.5 to $13.3 billion in the first 50 years of operation.
The Northern NSW Regional Intelligence Report delves into the particular benefits that northern NSW will receive from Inland Rail. Already, the region contributes $11.5bn in gross value to the state and handles 50 million tonnes of freight a year.
In terms of jobs, the report estimates that 5,000 jobs will be created in construction across NSW, and by the 50th year of operations 360-470 full time equivalent positions will be created just in northern NSW.
In investment terms, construction will bring $2.5bn in gross state product to NSW, and by the 50th year of operations $320-360 million in gross regional product would be added to northern NSW.
Finance Minister Mathias Cormann said that the project would enable efficient access to global markets.
“Giving businesses and communities along Inland Rail’s path access to fast, efficient and cost-competitive freight transport will connect them to new markets and will drive new investments from industries looking to expand in our regions.”
The report highlights some investments that are currently underway. These include the Northern NSW Inland Port, which is taking $300,000 of NSW government funding for the Narrabri Shire Council to undertake an optimisation study for an intermodal facility near the Inland Rail route. Other potential investments include the expansion of food and livestock processing and growth in mining investment.
Federal member for Parkes Mark Coulton said that Inland Rail will empower regional industries.
“The time is now for industry to start planning for the coming decades and strategically position themselves to build resilience in their supply chains and take full advantage of the huge benefits Inland Rail is going to offer.”
“Inland Rail could be pivotal in shaping and sustaining long-term economic growth and prosperity in the regions along the corridor,” write the authors of the report. “With the right policy settings, Inland Rail can deliver economic growth through two response pathways – supply chain efficiencies and value chain growth.”