Rail industry news (Australia, New Zealand), Freight Rail, Inland Rail, Industry Infrastructure

Inland Rail spend with local businesses passes $427 million

Inland Rail has announced its first Social Performance figures for 2024, with new figures for end of March showing the project spent a further $17.5 million with local businesses in the first quarter, taking total spending with local businesses to $427 million since 2018 with over 570 local businesses, demonstrating the huge benefits Inland Rail construction is bringing.

First Nations businesses are also reaping the rewards from the opportunities provided by Inland Rail construction, with a further $3.1 million spent with local businesses in January-March, taking total spend with First Nations businesses to $43 million with 31 First Nations businesses.

Rural and regional businesses have provided a range of services to Inland Rail, including office fit out, accommodation and catering, workforce training, equipment supply, earthworks, signage, waste services, hardware supplies, plant and equipment hire, electrical and plumbing services and fencing.

In addition, the latest figures show that Inland Rail employed a further five hundred workers in the January-March period, taking total numbers of workers employed on the project to 5,235 since construction began in 2018, with 730 of these First Nations workers.

The new workers on the project have been deployed mainly on the Beveridge to Albury and Stockinbingal to Parkes sections, where successful possessions were held earlier this year.

Local workers on the Inland Rail alignment in regional and rural Australia continue to benefit from the project, with nearly 400 hundred additional locals working on the project in January-March, taking the total number of local residents that have worked on the project to over 2,500 since 2018.

Stephen Jones, Director Health, Safety & Environment at Inland Rail spoke about what this spending means for the communities.

“Inland Rail is being built now to create a new freight future for Australia and this latest Social Performance data shows that Inland Rail is already delivering real opportunities for regional communities along the alignment,” he said.

“Inland Rail has put a huge amount of work in to making sure that we deliver real benefits to regional Australians during construction, so it’s very rewarding to see those benefits coming to fruition.

“The good news is that as we continue with the job of completing Inland Rail from Beveridge to Parkes by 2027 that those opportunities are going to be available to even more regional Australians.”

Inland Rail expenditure with local companies will expand over the next three years with construction between Parkes, New South Wales and Beveridge, Victoria prioritised for completion by 2027.

Contractors Martinus Rail and McConnell Dowell are already well underway building the S2P and B2A sections, currently valued at more than $600 million.

The Albury to Illabo section is progressing through environmental approvals and a construction contract for the final eight sites in Victoria is expected to be awarded in mid-2024.