The Economic Benefits
Inland Rail will support more than 21,500 jobs at the peak of construction and deliver a boost of more than $18 billion to gross domestic product during construction and the first 50 years of operation. With more than 1,000km of the total 1,700km Inland Rail line to be built in New South Wales, the state is positioned for a significant jobs and economic boost.
The first section of Inland Rail construction between Parkes and Narromine supported:
- work for more than 1,800 people, including 762 local residents, 197 of whom identify as Indigenous
- 99 local businesses benefiting from the almost $110 million spent locally on supplies and services.
The second section between Narrabri and North Star (N2NS) commenced construction in November 2020, with more than 500 direct jobs expected from the contractor and many others to follow for sub-contractors and businesses in the regions.
Our project partner, Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC) is working with local communities and business in the N2NS project section to deliver Inland Rail and has reported community benefits as of August 2021.
Inland Rail is currently benefiting NSW businesses, with 657 contracts committed at a value of $454 million as of September 2021.
In NSW, Inland Rail includes upgrades to more than 600km of existing track and the construction of almost 400km of new rail line.
Construction in NSW includes:
- 185km of upgraded track from Albury to Illabo (A2I)
- 37km of new track from Illabo to Stockinbingal (I2S)
- 170.3km enhancement of specific sites between Stockinbingal to Parkes (S2P)
- 98.4km of upgraded track and 5.3km of new track from Parkes to Narromine (P2N)
- 306km of new track from Narromine to Narrabri (N2N)
- 182.8km of upgraded track and 1.7km of new track from Narrabri to North Star (N2NS)
- 25km of upgraded track and 14km of new track from North Star to the NSW/Queensland border (NS2B)
Regional New South Wales is Australia’s most diverse largest economy and, home to 40% of the state’s population, which contributes 8.3% to Australia’s gross domestic product (GDP).
The freight, logistics and distribution sector contributed $6.4 billion to the NSW state economy in 2018 and is expected to grow in the years ahead.
Home to the nation’s largest city, Sydney, the state is a hub for innovation, population diversity and a popular business destination.
Inland Rail taps into and boosts the economic potential of NSW. It will enhance existing freight infrastructure, making it easier for businesses, farms, mines, cities and ports to connect to domestic and international markets.
There will be 200,000 fewer heavy vehicle movements on NSW roads each year in 2050 – diverted from the Newell, Hume and Pacific Highways. Each train on Inland Rail will replace 110 trucks.
Recognising telecommunications are an economic and social enabler, the Australian Government is exploring options to enhance regional telecommunications services for communities along the alignment while delivering the system requirements and coverage for Inland Rail trains. A Telecommunications Working Group has been established with an initial focus to investigate potential improvements for the Narrabri to North Star section, which commenced construction on 27 November 2020.
- There are 42 Local Government Areas (LGAs) that lie approximately 50km east and 100km west of the Inland Rail alignment in NSW.
- As of February 2020, this region was home to approximately 605,837 people, which includes the regional centres such as Dubbo, Moree, Albury and Parkes.
- Approximately 17% (90 million tonnes) of road freight originates from the 42 NSW LGAs.
- Agriculture, construction mining and manufacturing have experienced strong growth in recent years and have the potential to generate freight demand for Inland Rail, and to attract and enhance investments into the Inland Rail corridor.
- Between 2015 and 2019, the mining sector in northern NSW saw an average growth of 28% each year while agriculture in southern NSW grew by 11% annually.
Northern NSW is renowned for:
- Significant grain, cotton, livestock produce and minerals and energy resources.
- The major freight generators are agriculture, mining, and construction which combined account for 35% of gross value added (GVA).
Southern NSW is renowned for:
- Its agriculture, livestock, manufacturing and transport and logistics.
- The major freight generators are agriculture, manufacturing and construction, which combined account for 33% of gross value added.
An enduring boost for New South Wales
In addition to the direct benefits identified by ARTC in 2020, the EY Inland Rail Regional Opportunities report identified that Inland Rail can further boost gross regional product (GRP) by up to $5.5 billion in the first 50 years of the rail line’s operation.
The report also identified that Inland Rail could support up to 980 full time jobs in New South Wales and boost gross regional product by up to $570 million in its 10th year of operation.
A technical report is also available with a detailed summary of the research approach, methodology and supporting analysis.
Industry Growth & Investment
An updated NSW Regional Rail Corridor Strategy, being developed by Transport for NSW, sets a framework for the NSW regional rail network in conjunction with investments in the road network.
This strategy aims to maximise the benefits of Inland Rail in NSW by identifying locations where specific investment will lead to more efficient and/or higher capacity rail connectivity.
In July 2019, the NSW state Government announced a number of sites for NSW’s first Special Activation Precincts, specifically, Parkes and Bomen Business Park in Wagga Wagga. Investigations as to the suitability of Narrabri as a Special Activation Precinct was subsequently announced in November 2020.
The following hubs are local initiatives that will present investment opportunities for transport and logistic operators and complement industry throughout NSW.
Northern NSW Inland Port
A Narrabri Shire Council led initiative that will present major investment opportunities for transport and logistics operators, manufacturers, agri-business and service providers, and offer a competitive advantage to businesses requiring national and global distribution.
In Budget 2020 the Australian Government committed $7.75 million to support the construction of a 1,800m rail siding with slip road infrastructure to facilitate rail loading and storage capability at the New South Wales Inland Port logistics and Freight Hub in Narrabri.
Moree Special Activation Precinct (SAP)
A NSW state Government led initiative, which will create long-term job opportunities attract businesses and investors and drive economic growth. The SAP will be investigated to create a thriving business hub that will take advantage of its location in the middle of the most productive grain region in Australia, leveraging the Inland Rail route and the Newell Highway. The Precinct would create a new business hub that specialises in agribusiness, logistics and food processing industries.
Moree Intermodal Overpass
In April 2021, the Australian Government committed $35.2 million to support the construction of the Moree Intermodal Overpass to improve freight supply chain connections in the region.
This funding will also enable construction of additional connecting roads to ensure there are effective links between the Newell Highway and Inland Rail.
Parkes Special Activation Precinct (SAP)
A NSW state Government led initiative which will create new jobs in the freight and logistics industry and optimise opportunities in the agricultural industry. Parkes was the first official SAP to be announced taking advantage of location, business development opportunities and employment growth offered by the east-west rail line and the Inland Rail project, placing Parkes at the crossroads of Australia.
Wagga Wagga Special Activation Precinct (SAP)
A NSW state Government led initiative, which will create long-term job opportunities attract businesses and investors and drive economic growth. The precinct is investigating an area of around 4100 hectares, with 300 hectares already developed as part of the Bomen Business Park. The Wagga Wagga SAP is set to be an excellent business precinct and will capitalise on the Inland Rail and focus on advanced manufacturing, agribusiness, freight, and logistics.
Parkes National Logistics Hub
A Parkes Shire Council led initiative, 600ha intermodal site uniquely positioned at the intersection of the East West rail line, the North South Newell Highway and the Inland Rail. Designed to deliver unprecedented efficiencies and major investment opportunities for transport and logistics operators, manufacturers, freight forwarders, agri-businesses and service industries.
Ettamogah Rail Hub
A privately owned and operated intermodal facility in southern-NSW is positioned adjacent to the Inland Rail line and is expanding operations to facilitate freight movements and transfers along the corridor.
In Budget 2020 the Australian Government committed $2.6 million to support the delivery of 5km of new arrival and departure sidings so that trains calling at the hub can pull off the single track mainline.
Construction of the siding was completed in May 2021.
CSIRO Supply Chain Mapping
To better understand how Inland Rail could reduce costs and make supply chains more efficient, the Department worked with the Commonwealth Scientific Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) to map supply chains and model the transport cost savings available to businesses that use Inland Rail.
The results of the pilot study showed significant cost saving of $76 per tonne for horticulture products and post-processed food supply chains when shifted to Inland Rail.
The CSIRO study also demonstrates that Inland Rail has the potential to increase market access for regional producers.
Grade separating road interfaces
The Inland Rail project interfaces with national, state, regional and private roads. To support safety outcomes for Australians, the Government is contributing $150 million to improve the road interfaces with Inland Rail in NSW. The funding commitment will deliver additional grade separations on the alignment in New South Wales and is expected to support 420 direct and indirect jobs.