A refrigeration hub in Parkes, an expanded intermodal facility in Wagga Wagga and an upgrade to the Stockinbingal to Griffith rail line are among the local ideas earmarked for further development under the Australian Government’s $44 million Inland Rail Interface Improvement Program.

Riverina MP, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Michael McCormack said it was good to see governments and industry plan ahead for Inland Rail.

“As one of the nation’s food bowls, the Riverina has much to gain from improving connections to Inland Rail so local produce can be easily transferred to the freight line and growing markets.

“I congratulate Wagga Wagga City Council, SCT Logistics and Transport for New South Wales which will now work with specialist business advisers from an EY-led consortium to further develop their ideas for the Riverina and make a case for investment.

“Inland Rail is more than a rail line – it’s also a boost to our region. We have seen that firsthand as construction has rolled out along the Parkes to Narromine section – employing 1,673 people including 656 locals so far, and benefitting 97 local businesses with a $76.5 million spend.

“For those who look beyond the immediate benefits from construction, there are long-term opportunities for our region to take advantage of the connections to Inland Rail and the supply chain efficiencies that come with fast, reliable and cost-competitive freight transport.

“Over the next 50 years, complementary investment alongside Inland Rail has the potential to boost gross regional product for southern New South Wales by another $3.8 billion. That’s in addition to the 5,000 jobs and $2.5 billion in gross state product expected for the New South Wales economy from construction of the rail line,” Mr McCormack said.

Under the Interface Improvement Program, these three Riverina ideas will be supported to develop their proposals into feasibility studies and robust business cases.

Project proposals found eligible in the Riverina include:

Developing the Parkes Intermodal and Refrigeration Hub to improve links between freight and supply chains and Inland Rail, and benefit local producers. Proposed by SCT Logistics, this idea suggests upgrading and constructing new intermodal, open-access freight infrastructure and cold storage for exporters, importers and local markets.

A Riverina intermodal freight and logistics hub to increase the goods going on Inland Rail and boost regional development. Proposed by Wagga Wagga City Council, this idea suggests an upgrade to the terminal facility in the Wagga Wagga Special Activation Precinct.

An increase to the axle load limit on the rail line between Stockinbingal and Griffith to improve efficiency and productivity for commodities originating from the Riverina. Proposed by Transport for New South Wales, this idea suggests upgrading existing single rail lines from Stockinbingal to Temora West and then Temora West to Griffith.

For the proponents and the region, this is an opportunity to assess the costs and benefits of these proposals according to the best practice gateway process for infrastructure investment.

To progress through the gateways, proposals are assessed against the Interface Improvement Program principles and information requirements.

Find out more about the Interface Improvement Program and other successful proposals at https://www.inlandrail.gov.au/regional-development/interface-improvement-program