Inland Rail steel rail and sleepers on route to Moree Plains Shire Council
The Narrabri to North Star (N2NS) section of the Melbourne to Brisbane Inland Rail is an upgrade to approximately 188km of track within the existing rail corridor and construction of approximately 1.6km of new rail corridor. The project crosses into three local government areas, including the Moree Plains.
Construction of this section is getting closer, with regular delivery of by rail of steel rail and concrete sleepers underway in the Moree to North Star section. Deliveries commenced in mid-June and will continue into mid-2020.
The Moree to North Star rail corridor has not seen trains operate consistently for a significant period of time. Commencement of these pre-construction works means trains are using the line once more, with trains running on the track during the day and night.
As the deliveries continue, landholders, motorists and communities around Edgeroi, Bellata, Gurley, Moree, Crooble, Milguy, Croppa Creek and North Star need to be extra vigilant around level crossings. Due to the limited use of this line, many community members may be accustomed to crossing level crossings (or otherwise crossing the rail line) without looking or stopping for trains.
“Road users are urged to take extra care at level crossings along the Narrabri to North Star section of Inland Rail over the coming months with increased train movements for the delivery of construction materials,” said Inland Rail Narrabri to North Star Project Director Duncan Mitchell.
“Commencing 17 June, rail and sleepers are being delivered to sites along the alignment, and the transport of the materials will continue into 2020.
“This is in preparation for the construction phase of work between Narrabri and North Star, which is expected to start next year once all project approvals are in place. This material will be used to re-build existing track, complete level crossings, and build a new section of rail line at Camurra,”explained Mr Mitchell.
Mayor Katrina Humphries said the whole project, when completed, would be a “game changer” for the safe and efficient transportation of commodities from the Moree Plains and the wider catchment region to major ports and ease the freight burden on our road network.
“I am just thrilled to hear that construction materials are making their way into our Shire in anticipation for commencement of construction once all the necessary approvals are in place.
“As a community, we need to be mindful that the rail line will be in use and ensure we adjust our behaviours accordingly,” Mayor Humphries said.
Stronger Country Communities Round Three Funding Open for Applications
Moree Plains Shire Council is encouraging sporting, educational, and not for profit community organisations to submit funding applications to the NSW Government under Round Three of the Stronger Country Communities Fund (SCCF), commencing 1 July 2019.
Moree Plains Shire Council Manager of Economic and Community Development, Mr Mark Connolly said the Shire was successful in being allocated just over $815,000 in funding for community infrastructure projects under Round Three of the SCCF initiative.
“Complementing the Fund’s traditional focus on community infrastructure to improve everyday living, in 2019 there will be an increased focus on young people aged 12-24 and a broader scope of eligible projects including programs as well as local infrastructure.
“Funding will be allocated to projects that clearly demonstrate community support and align with the program objectives of supporting initiatives that improve the quality of life of young people living in regional NSW,” said Mr Connolly.
Previous rounds of the SCCF initiative has seen funding provided for the upgrade of an adventure playground at Spilsbury Park, the development of the Moree Mehi Corridor, and the construction of a new Moree Men’s Shed, just to name a few.
One of the big changes to Round Three will be the ability for local organisations to make application directly to the NSW Government, thereby removing the need for Council to review and prioritise applications.
“We welcome the changes to the program as it removes an additional layer of administration and makes the whole program far more streamlined,” said Mr Connolly.
Organisations wishing to apply for funding are required to complete and submit a Stronger Country Communities Fund Application by 5pm, Friday 27 September 2019. The Program Guidelines, Frequently Asked Questions, and details in relation to the application process can be found on the SCCF website: https://www.nsw.gov.au/improving-nsw/regional-nsw/regional-growth-fund/stronger-country-communities/. Additionally, applications from community organisations for infrastructure on Council land or public reserves managed by Council must obtain written approval from Council to undertake the works.
Council encourages Local Suppliers
In late June, Moree Plains Shire Council held an information session for local contractors to assist those considering bidding to become preferred contractors for work not able to be done by Council staff. Businesses selected as part of this process will be on the preferred list for three years, which avoids the costs of having to quote for many jobs. Instead, contractors would generally be selected in rotation ensuring a wider spread of work amongst local firms.
The session was also of benefit for contractors who want to bid for Council infrastructure projects and who wanted to become more familiar with online tendering systems. These systems are now common and skills learned will open up business opportunities for local suppliers both within the Shire and beyond.
Over fifty attendees came on the night which covered how to:
• register for receiving online requests for quoting and tendering through VendorPanel (the online system used by Council);
• review, assess and respond to procurement documents; and
• understand how to maximise business opportunities not only with Council but with other groups and organisations.
VendorPanel is used by Council, as well as hundreds of other organisations, to simplify the quotation or tendering process and to increase transparency and compliance. Most importantly for local businesses, once registered their details are in the system and requests from Council and other organisations simply turn up in their inbox. This avoids the weekly chore of wading through newspaper classifieds, and reduces the risk of a business missing work opportunities.
For contractors already registered on VendorPanel, Council’s current bidding round for preferred contractors will close towards by the end of July. Council encourages businesses not already registered as a supplier on VendorPanel to register as Council will open up a second round of bidding for preferred contractors later in the year.
For local businesses looking to register as a supplier for VendorPanel:
1. Go to www.vendorpanel.com.au/marketplace.aspx registration page
2. Chose the relevant business category(s)
3. Enter your business name and contact details
4. An invitation will appear in your email to join VendorPanel
5. Complete your business profile (once registered, suppliers are visible to purchasing staff)
Moree Plains Shire Council’s Director of Planning and Community Development Angus Witherby is encouraging local suppliers to register on VendorPanel.
“With over $23 million in capital projects to deliver over the coming year or so, and a substantial building maintenance budget, Council will be looking for outside assistance to help us deliver these projects and keep Council’s assets in the desired condition.
“Now more than ever, it is critical for these funds to be retained in the Shire, wherever possible. I would encourage local businesses to firstly register with VendorPanel and then throw their hat in the ring to undertake works,” said Mr Witherby.
“In addition to Council projects, major projects like Inland Rail use online bidding systems for sub-contracting works and this is an excellent opportunity for local suppliers to get a foot in the door.
“We were very happy with the turnout for our information night and hope it’s a major step towards keeping dollars in our local community”, said Mr Witherby.