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Moree Inland Rail freight hub on track with $3.4 million grant

MOREE’S dream of becoming the freight hub of the North West has rolled into reality with Northern Tablelands MP and Minister for Agriculture Adam Marshall and Deputy Premier John Barilaro on Friday announcing a $3.4 million grant to build roads and improve access around a proposed intermodal site.

Mr Marshall and Mr Barilaro inspected Moree Plains Shire Council’s (MPSC) planned freight terminal location which will act as a state-wide distribution point for millions of dollars’ worth of agricultural product.

Mr Marshall said today’s funding announcement for Stage 1, the North South Link, was a positive step towards a new era of economic growth for Moree.

“Being the most productive agricultural district in the country, Moree is perfectly positioned to have this large consolidation and loading facility to take produce from the region to Brisbane, Newcastle or further afield,” Mr Marshall said.

“This $3.4 million grant provided through the Growing Local Economies Fund will allow MPSC to start constructing a new section of road to connect Burrington Road and Tapscott’s Road, south of the Louis Dreyfus Company site as well as work to upgrade and flood proof unsealed roads along the Newell Highway and rail corridor.

“The intermodal is visionary and by providing this preliminary funding the NSW Government is making sure Moree shire is ready to distribute goods and create jobs when the first train rolls along the inland rail in 2025,” Mr Marshall said.

Mr Barilaro said the economic flow on from the Moree Intermodal will be felt across the entire region.

“Because of the prolonged drought and downturn in local economies many people are struggling to see a future in the bush,” Mr Barilaro said.

“Today’s announcement is a commitment by the NSW Government to ensuring there are job opportunities for our children in their home towns well after the drought breaks.

“I congratulate MPSC for the work it has done preparing a strong proposal for the Government to consider and I look forward to seeing these road works complete and the trucks and trains soon rolling into the intermodal,” Mr Barilaro said.

Moree Mayor Katrina Humphries, member for Northern Tablelands Adam Marshall and NSW Deputy Premier John Barilaro at Friday’s announcement.

Mayor of Moree Katrina Humphries said the intermodal, working with the Inland Rail, is a once in a lifetime opportunity.

“I want to thank the NSW Government for recognising the economic potential the intermodal will deliver to both Moree and the wider Inland Rail project,” Mrs Humphries said.

“With our town’s location at the junction of the Gwydir, Newell and Castlreagh Highways and pre-existing availability of industrially zoned land with road and rail access Moree really is the perfect fit for this development.

“Hours of work have gone into getting the intermodal to this point and Council now looks forward getting on with Stage 1 and providing a bright and prosperous future for our region,” Mrs Humphries said.

All up these road upgrades will cost $3.9 million, with MPSC pledging to contribute $205,000 and private enterprise investing $337,000.

Tom French chairman of the Moree Local Aboriginal Lands Council Tom French and vice-chairman Lloyd Munro joined Mr Barilaro, Mr Marshall and Mayor Humphries on-site for the announcement.

Moree Plains Shire Council (Council) will deliver the North-South Link, a key part of its Inland Rail program.

The North-South Link comprises the construction of a section of new road connecting Tapscott’s Road to Burrington Road south of the Louis Dreyfus Company site and north of Council’s Evergreen Precinct and an upgrade of an existing unsealed and flood-prone road running parallel to the Newell Highway east of the Inland Rail corridor linking to major intermodal facilities and the Moree Intermodal Park.

The North-South Link will enhance safety and productivity by catering for high productivity vehicles, resulting in a reduced number of vehicle movements for the amount of freight transported.

In addition to the NSW Government funding, Council will contribute $205,000 with a further $337,000 to be funded by industry. This part of the program is also underpinned by a shared and committed vision for the future of the Moree Plains by Council working with the Moree LALC.

Mayor Humphries applauded the announcement as a clear indication of the NSW Government’s confidence in Moree’s future and Council’s strategy to build on the Plains’ proud agricultural dominance and leverage the opportunities the Inland Rail will bring to the Shire and New South Wales.

Moree Mayor Katrina Humphries, MPSC general manager Lester Rogers, member for Northern Tablelands Adam Marshall and NSW Deputy Premier John Barilaro flanked by a large group of MPSC staff and intermodal stake-holders at Friday’s announcement.

“Council has developed a bold vision to ensure the Inland Rail has a positive impact on this community and the New England region,” Cr Humphries said. 

“We see the North-South Link as a vital first step in this program. Our economic development, planning, and engineering teams have worked in close collaboration with the NSW Government and the Moree LALC to secure this exciting investment.

“The support of both the NSW Government and private industry is critical. It is great to see that our State counterparts recognise that the Moree Plains is so well positioned to play a pivotal role in unleashing regional development opportunities off the back of this nation-building project,” she said.

“We commend the strong economic vision the NSW Government has for regional NSW and for Moree in particular.

“The North-South Link has been designed to work in sympathy with both existing and planned infrastructure projects associated with the new Moree Intermodal Park development.  Creating a coordinated program of projects will build investor confidence, enable future industry expansion, deliver improved road safety and increased freight efficiencies as well as enhancing access to markets for local businesses via industry-leading rail siding access to Inland Rail.  

“I’m also proud as punch that the North-South Link is the culmination of a great working relationship between Council and the Moree Local Aboriginal Lands Council. I cannot tell you how supportive Tom, Lloyd and the Lands Council more generally have been in the process. The North-South Link will long be remembered as a great example of what can be achieved when state and local government work with the aboriginal community and industry,” she said.

Tom French said he couldn’t agree more.

“We are so pleased this project will be funded by the NSW Government. For members of our local indigenous workforce, Council’s inland rail program has the potential to deliver real financial security, rewarding work and personal development including through representing and mentoring their communities,” Mr French said.

“I am so pleased with the outcome of our collaboration with Council on this part of the program and the dividends it will now bring.”

Lloyd Munro shared Mr French’s enthusiasm.

“Working together towards a unified solution which benefits all of the Moree Plains community has been a great driver for the North-South Link. For Inland Rail to be truly nation-building we need real inclusion and real outcomes and our work with Council in relation to the North-South Link is delivering that tenfold. It’s a great outcome for all of us,” Mr Munro said.

Mayor Humphries agreed, adding “for over three years, Council has been working with key stakeholders and across the NSW Government to help secure the infrastructure investment that will maximise the benefits of Inland Rail for our community. This investment is crucial in a time of drought and will allow the community to position itself to ensure that, when it does rain, we take advantage of every opportunity”.

Media Releases: September 6, 2019