Inland Rail offers a clear track for further investment into northern New South Wales, with an economic study released by the Nationals in Government outlining growth in food processing, logistics hubs and consumer warehousing in towns along the rail line.

The Northern NSW Long-Term Regional Opportunities report shows a significant boost to jobs and investment in the area as a direct result of the project.

Deputy Prime Minister and Nationals Leader Michael McCormack said the study was a call-to-arms for small and big business to take advantage of the enhanced connectivity and cost-competitive supply chains created by Inland Rail.

“The report shows Inland Rail is capable of supporting another 310 full-time jobs by 10 years of operation and could boost gross regional product by up to $1.7 billion over a 50-year period,” Mr McCormack said.

“Our Government is committed to supporting Australian industry by creating opportunities to keep business open and economies growing.

“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.

“We want Australia to be in the best position to not only recover from the disruptions caused by COVID-19, but thrive after the immediate threat has passed with all levels of Government working together to drive economic resilience and support jobs in our regions.”

The report’s findings clearly demonstrate the important role Inland Rail will play in the nation’s economic recovery.

The Government’s $100 billion infrastructure pipeline, of which Inland Rail is a major component, is part of the plan for a strong recovery. 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.

Federal Nationals Member for Parkes Mark Coulton welcomed the report and the opportunities highlighted for the region.

“This report is an endorsement of what our Government has always known – Inland Rail is a transformational project that is going to deliver lasting opportunities for business,” Mr Coulton said.

“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.

“The report includes industry case studies for Narrabri and Gunnedah – but what this report shows us is that there are opportunities for industry throughout northern New South Wales and not just along the 1700-kilometre line.

“I want regional communities in northern New South Wales to have the same opportunities as metropolitan and coastal communities. Northern NSW is in a strong position to maximise the opportunities presented by Inland Rail.”

Mr Coulton said the study region for the report includes 16 local government areas that are approximately 50km east and 100km west of the Inland Rail alignment.

The report is part of a broader economic study released in March 2020 that builds on the existing benefits outlined in the 2015 Inland Rail Business case and forecasts that regional Queensland, NSW and Victoria will see a boost of up to $13.3 billion in gross regional product off the back of Inland Rail.