With the turning of the first sod on Friday 2nd October in Parkes, the Melbourne to Brisbane Inland Rail development was officially underway. This project is one of the biggest regional investments ever made and is set to transform the Parkes region.

The development hopes to significantly improve the national freight rail system and has been designed to improve the access our farms and mines have to capital cities and crucial ports, in turn enhancing regional Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria’s access to both domestic and international markets. The completion of Inland Rail will officially establish Parkes as a 24/7 multi-modal national transport hub, with the ability to transport and process freight between Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide within 24-hours. Parkes will also become the only location in Australia where the Inland Rail line also intersects with the north-south Newell highway and the east-west rail-line, making this regional NSW town one of the busiest transport nodes in the country, with the capacity to reach over 80 per cent of the nation’s population in less than 12-hours. As a result of the Inland Rail, the volume of freight travelling along the eastern seaboard is expected to double to 8 billion tonnes by 2030.

Parkes’ Mayor, Ken Keith, spoke with the ABC last December about the project. As Parkes’ local unemployment rate sits higher than the national average, and the weekly income of Parkes residents sits below average, Keith is excited to see the Inland Rail bring much-deserved growth and ongoing opportunity to his community.