More than one million concrete sleepers needed to build Inland Rail will be manufactured in the Queensland and New South Wales regions.
The Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC) has signed contracts worth almost $150 million with railway sleeper manufacturer, Austrak, to supply concrete sleepers for the interstate project.
Around 120 positions have been secured by the development, with work due to start at Austrak’s Rockhampton and Wagga Wagga sites.
Having already supplied over 200,000 sleepers to the Narrabri-North Star rail section, the deal will see Austrak produce improved materials for use from Albury through to the end of the Inland Rail in Queensland.
In a press release, the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development, Barnaby Joyce, said the project was encouraging economic growth in the Australian region.
“Over 400 Australian businesses, many in regional areas, have already shared the billions of dollars we are investing in Inland Rail,” Joyce said.
“The project not only breathes new life into regional economies along the route, but across Australia, including Rockhampton, north of where we expect the final route to end at Gladstone. .”
Finance Minister Simon Birmingham said the deal would have a significant effect on job creation across regional Australia, with several industries having already benefited.
“The design and construction of Inland Rail has already seen ARTC commit to contracts worth over $2.2 billion,” Birmingham said.
“This level of investment has a positive flow to local communities, Inland Rail is expected to deliver an increase of over $18 billion to Australia’s gross domestic product during construction and over the first 50 years of operation.
Federal members from Capricornia and Riverina also said the increased work at the respective sites would be a boon to the freight industry as well as a boost to local economies.
The 1,700km railway aims to reduce reliance on road traffic between Victoria and Queensland while better linking agricultural industries to markets.
Construction is expected to be completed in 2027.
Last year, a regional manufacturer in Victoria agreed to supply Inland Rail switches in an $80 million deal.
Separately, floodwater disruption on Australia’s east-west freight line has prompted the government to consider lifting a ban on the use of triple road trains.