Funding secured to make Moree ‘inland rail ready’ by 2020

MOREE Mayor Katrina Humphries says grant funding to undertake a comprehensive transport study for the Moree Plains Shire is a ‘game-changer’.

Cr Humphries, in conjunction with Federal Member for Parkes Mark Coulton, this week announced that Council has been successful in securing funding.

The total project – costed at $425,000 – comprises funding and additional in-kind contributions by Council, with the lion’s share made available by the Federal Government.

The project will allow Council to engage specialist assistance to prepare a Strategic Transport Plan for the Shire which will be targeted at ensuring the whole Shire is ‘Inland Rail ready’ by the time the rail line is upgraded in 2020.

The key elements of the project are to:

  • Enhance access to, and operation of, existing local intermodal facilities to take immediate advantage of recent upgrades to rail lines;
  • Address road access issues to existing and future intermodal facilities;
  • Identify rail upgrades that would facilitate longer trains;
  • Undertake preliminary design work; and
  • Put in place a planning framework for a new, major, intermodal opportunity including identifying critical ‘last mile needs’.

    Funding has been secured to make Moree ‘inland rail ready’.

A masterplan will be prepared as part of the project, addressing potential sites for a fully integrated multi-modal transport, logistics and business hub reviewing both public and private land.

The strategic opportunities of each potential site will be reviewed, together with the infrastructure needs to service the selected sites.

This includes new and upgraded roads, rail access and also infrastructure such as power, water and sewer, and telecommunications.

A full business case will also be developed including the potential for complementary industrial development.

A recommended framework for facility delivery will be developed including private sector investment options.

A detailed transport model, based on the CSIRO transport model TraNSIT, which is currently being built for the region, will be developed for the Shire to allow the testing of various infrastructure options and to support the development of cost-benefit analyses.

The model will provide a key method of testing the economic and transport impacts and benefits of key infrastructure links.

The final element of the Study is the development of a comprehensive communications and marketing plan, to ensure that the investment community is fully engaged with the opportunities available.

The ‘shovel ready projects’ developed from the study will be targeted at a variety of existing and forthcoming infrastructure funding opportunities.

“We’ve always been committed to the Inland Rail. This grant is going to help us immensely to pull together a Study which will allow players in the agricultural, logistics, distribution and other industries to understand the business case offered by this Shire,” Cr Humphries said.

“It will also identify the places where additional investment is needed to truly unlock the potential of the Shire’s place on the inland rail. This will also allow us to seek further funding to invest in these opportunities ourselves or offer opportunities for the private sector to get involved.

“Make no mistake, this grant is a game-changer for our Shire,” she said.

Council says the project will go well beyond the typical piecemeal approach to transport and logistics planning and will ensure that the entire Moree Plains region has a well informed and developed strategic approach to future logistics requirements and utilisation of the improved rail access so as to unlock the full agricultural potential of the Shire.

The project will develop logistics as a key economic driver for the future growth of the Moree Plains region and will create additional economic opportunities beyond simply meeting current freight demand. This will include attracting new industry to the region and value adding to current industry sectors.

Media Release: October 24, 2017