$2 Million Funding Fix

On 8 August 2016, the NSW Government announced it will spend $2 million dollars as part of the Fixing Country Rail pilot program to reopen 2.8 kilometres of the currently disused Moree to Inverell railway branch line. The work will link the receival facilities of Moree-based Broadbent Grain with the main line servicing Moree.

This means about 6,000 trucks worth of product annually (about 250,000 tonnes of grain and 6,400 twenty foot containers of cotton and pulses) can be moved by rail to Newcastle instead of going by road to Queensland. The project will also work in with the proposed Melbourne to Brisbane Inland Rail which will provide even better rail services in the future.

Mayor, Councillor Katrina Humphries is thrilled with the news, “This is a big win for Moree’s agricultural industry and the Shire more broadly. It is really pleasing to see the investment in transport infrastructure for the Shire. We all know just how much product is grown in our wonderful highly productive agricultural shire – it’s just such a challenge to move it in a timely and cost effective way to market. This opens up another means of transporting product to port.

“As a Shire, we have been working incredibly hard in positioning ourselves to take advantage of the changing landscape of freight in this country. This investment enhances the work we have been doing with the Melbourne to Brisbane Inland Rail and the opportunities this presents for the Shire. “By taking advantage of these opportunities, we are really showing that Moree is serious about becoming a key player in effective movement of freight.

The Inland Rail is going to be a game changer for our country’s agricultural supply chain system and I am delighted that we will be front and centre at the table,” Cr Humphries stated. Earlier this year, Moree Plains Shire Council facilitated meetings with key local agricultural and transport leaders to provide a coordinated response to the NSW Regional Intermodal Taskforce. Importantly, this identified the need for all levels of government to develop integrated logistics policies that extend from farm gate to port and domestic product movements.

Director of Planning and Community Development, Angus Witherby noted, “Following our meetings earlier this year, the Moree Multi-Modal Transport Taskforce was born, with participants agreeing that cooperation is needed to generate better economic outcomes for all parties.

The Fixing Country Rail funding is a great example of industry and State and Local Governments working together.” A total of 10 projects across NSW will receive a share of $15 million under the Fixing Country Rail pilot program, in addition to the $400 million to be invested into the program itself. The first full round of Fixing Country Rail funding will open later this year. Regional councils, producers, rail operators and other businesses are being encouraged to work together and apply for funding under the program. With Moree’s recent success in the pilot program, the Shire will be continuing to work hard with local industry for the forthcoming funding round.