‘Importance must not be underestimated’

Parkes was recently host to the Inland Rail Symposium which discussed the key issues related to the development of the rail network.

Over 120 delegates attended the symposium where several speakers including Federal Member for Calare and Shadow Minister for Agriculture and Food Security John Cobb, Federal Minister for Transport and Infrastructure Anthony Albanese, Inland Rail Alignment Study project Manager Dale Budd and Associate Prof. Phillip Laird from the University of Wollongong addressed the large group.

The importance of this infrastructure project was highlighted by many who addressed the crowd including Leader of the Nationals and Shadow Minister for Infrastructure and Transport, Warren Truss who said, “This project is one of the most important long term projects for Australia and close to the hearts of many in this room.”

“Done right it will improve the capacity, reliability ad productivity of the highest growth freight corridor in Australia.

“The Inland Rail project can cut the time it takes to move freight from Melbourne to Brisbane from over 33 hours to less than a day,” he said.

Mr Truss went on to say that we are part of a global market making this project “especially important for out exports sectors – particularly agriculture and minerals – that they can get from farms or mines to ports in the most efficient way possible to maximize our global competitiveness.”

In 2006 the Governments commissioned the North-South rail Corridor Study to examine the flow of freight along inland routes, choking points and social benefits of expanding the network.

The study, which was released in September 2006, found that freight flows in most markets within the north-south corridor were expected to double over the next 25 years.

“Our farmers are renowned as among the best … they are gearing up to do their share in meeting this monumental food task,” Mr Truss said.

“Timely and efficient delivery of agricultural produce, in addition to the greater volumes required, need to be planned for now,” he added.

At the conclusion of the symposium the delegates constructed a communiqué stating where they should go from here.

In summing up discussion the communiqué reads, “The concept is simple, yet visionary and poses to be profoundly Australian as it addresses one of the Nation’s greatest competitive disadvantages; the tyranny of distance.”

The group resolved to “call on the current and future Commonwealth Governments of Australia and the Queensland, Victorian and New South Wales governments and local authorities along the route” to set common guidelines and see the project to fruition.

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