Coulton Catchup

Making inroads

When I climbed off my tractor to stand for the seat of Parkes, the establishment of the Inland Rail from Melbourne to Brisbane was a key priority of mine. I spoke about it in my Maiden Speech in February 2008. Now with the allocation of $8.4 billion in the Federal Budget the completion date of the line in 2024 is now a reality.

Inland Rail will create the incentive for industry to develop intermodal hubs, potentially at regional centres such as Moree, Narromine, and Narrabri. I think some of the businesses in Dubbo can start to seriously look at how this can be an advantage for them. The Central and North West regions of New South Wales will see $480 million in net economic benefits from the delivery of this project, and some of those 16,000 jobs will go to locals.

The Inland Rail project has a positive cost-benefit analysis, has been positively assessed by Infrastructure Australia, the nation’s independent infrastructure umpire, as returning $2.60 for every $1 invested, and features on IA’s Priority List. This is going to take trucks off the Newell Highway and help us get our produce to our markets faster and cheaper. But the good news does not stop there. The Budget will bring to the Electorate of Parkes much more than the infrastructure the Inland Rail. The extension the instant asset write-off programme and incentive payments for cutting red tape are highlights of the Budget boost for small business.