Austin Evans at the announcement in Narrandera with candidate for Cootamundra Steph Cooke, Deputy Premier John Barilaro and Minister for Roads, Maritime and Freight Melinda Pavey
The Deputy Premier and Minister for Regional NSW John Barilaro, and Minister for Roads, Maritime and Freight Melinda Pavey today announced a $1.1 million investment in two new rail projects for the Riverina.
Mr Barilaro and Ms Pavey were in Narrandera today to announce the funding for both the Junee North Triangle, and the Narrandera-Tocumwal Railway re-activation.
Mr Barilaro said the two projects, which fall under the Fixing Country Rail funding program, reaffirm the NSW Government’s commitment to improving rail transport in the region.
“This is huge bonus for the Riverina’s farmers,” Mr Barilaro said.
“The Junee North Triangle and the Narrandera-Tocumwal Railway re-activation will receive a total of $1.1 million in funding for design and pre-construction work.
“We recognise this beautiful region is the food bowl of the west - producing significant volumes of grain, rice, wine, meat, cotton and other horticultural products for both domestic and export markets.
“The costs associated with transporting produce for export is one of the largest inputs for many businesses in this region.
“By investing in rail, the Liberals & Nationals Government will improve efficiencies, reduce rail costs, which will in turn benefit farmers and incentivise freight carriers to switch from road to rail transport,” he said.
Austin Evans with candidate for Cootamundra Steph Cooke and Deputy Premier John Barilaro.
Mrs Pavey said a more direct rail link to the ports via Tocumwal could reduce the cost of transporting produce by as much as 20 per cent, savings that will stimulate the local economy.
“Travel times from Junee to Port Botany and Port Kembla could be reduced by up to three hours, and provide greater capacity at the busy Junee railyard,” Ms Pavey said.
“We know that half of the 80,000 export containers from the Western Riverina travel by road. This equates to almost 40,000 long distance road movements per year.
“We’re taking trucks off the road and putting freight on the tracks, reducing the price of rail freight, reducing cycle times and taking the pressure off local roads,” she said.
The NSW Government will invest $600,000 to design and commence pre-construction activities for a reconfigured junction at Junee North and $500,000 to complete a feasibility study and business case for the reactivation of the 180km non-operational Narrandera-Tocumwal Railway Line.
Announcements of other successful projects for shortlisting under round one of the Fixing Country Rail program will be made in late 2017, with funding awarded and projects to commence in 2018.