Signed. Sealed. (Almost) delivered.

The Inland Rail is one step closer to reality after the NSW Government signed the dotted line on a Bilateral Agreement with the Federal Government last week, allowing the Commonwealth to start working on the multi-billion-dollar project.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure Michael McCormack joined Deputy Premier and Minister for Regional NSW John Barilaro, former Nationals Leader Warren Truss and Parkes Shire Mayor Ken Keith to make the announcement and confirm that construction will begin in six months’ time.

The agreement – which was signed in Parkes, NSW – shows that there is a solid investment commitment into the regions across all levels of government that will transform our regional communities.

Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack said the day would go down in the history books.

“Inland Rail will be a corridor of commerce for communities along the eastern seaboard and today’s agreement in Parkes is another vital step in making its vision a reality,” Michael said.

“Locals know how exciting this project is and – as a local MP – I know how Inland Rail will create local jobs and investment opportunities throughout the regions, as well as dealing with Australia’s future freight challenges will into the next century.”

Cr Keith echoed Michael’s comments, noting it was a particularly special day for Parkes.

“To have the opening and signing of this document today is very significant, that it’s happening out in the region and not down in Macquarie Street or down in Canberra.”

NSW is the second state to come on board with the project after the Victorian Government confirmed its commitment back in March.

The agreement between states provides the guiding principles for the delivery of the projects new sections, including the 307 km section between Narromine and Narrabri. Construction of the Parkes to Narromine section of the freight route will begin in the coming months.

NSW Deputy Premier John Barilaro said the rail route will help ease congestion on our country roads and pave the way for the development of regional hubs.

“The Inland Rail has the potential to completely reinvigorate parts of regional NSW, well beyond the thousands of jobs that will be created in the construction phase,” John said.

Member for Parkes Mark Coulton – whose electorate will see a substantial part of the Inland Rail’s route run through it – reiterated John’s sentiments.

“This is all about helping farmers get their product from paddock to port as cheaply and efficiently as possible and in turn putting money back in the pockets of those producers to reinvest in their businesses or spend in their regional and rural towns.”

Construction works will commence mid this year once all necessary approvals are received. More information about the Inland Rail project can be found at: https://infrastructure.gov.au/rail/inland