Inland Rail answers call to improve mobile coverage in north west NSW
Minister for Regional Health, Regional Communications and Local Government Federal Member for Parkes Mark Coulton, who has long championed the Inland Rail project, has welcomed the Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC) announcement today to undertake a detailed feasibility study to explore opportunities to deliver improved mobile telecommunications along the Inland Rail corridor from Narrabri to North Star (N2NS).
Minister Coulton said the detailed feasibility study would confirm the site-specific technical approach, schedule and cost to improve mobile telecommunications coverage in a corridor 10-15km on either side of the N2NS section of the Inland Rail project.
"ARTC is strengthening existing mobile telecommunications infrastructure, building on advice from the Telecommunications Working Group, community feedback, and to meet their operational requirements," Minister Coulton said.
"Inland Rail will require mobile telecommunications for safe working systems and rail control – these upgrades will also leave a lasting benefit for communities long after the construction is finished.
"The construction and operation of Inland Rail will be a catalyst for growth in North West NSW – creating jobs and opportunities for local businesses while boosting economic activity and generating investment.
"We are working together to leverage the long-term benefits of Inland Rail because the regions are our lifeblood for resources and agricultural production."
ARTC Inland Rail Director of Planning, Communications and Stakeholder Relations Rebecca Pickering said that improved telecommunications on the Inland Rail alignment is essential to the operational needs of the Narrabri to North Star project and will leave a positive legacy to the community.
“We have consulted widely within communities, and we hear the same message time and time again. They want Inland Rail not only to deliver essential rail infrastructure, but to provide additional opportunity for regional development,” Ms Pickering said.
“Impacted landowners have also expressed to us that enhanced telecommunications can improve the safety of their farm operations where they interface with live rail lines.
“Addressing mobile telecommunications in the Northwest will enable enhanced communication for the construction project and the ARTC rail network once operational.
“We are pleased the community will also be able to leverage this legacy benefit to enhance mobile coverage in the north of the rail alignment,” she said.
The Australian Rail Track Corporation and ARTC’s telecommunications provider Telstra will partner to deliver the feasibility study in the northern end of the N2NS section.
Telstra Regional General Manager Northern NSW Michael Marom said Telstra is delighted to be working with the ARTC to identify options for enhancing mobile coverage along the Inland Rail route.
“We are currently conducting a detailed feasibility study for enhancing coverage along the Narrabri-North Star section of the Inland rail, and that study should be completed within the next few months,” he said.
The study is expected to be completed in June 2021 and enabling infrastructure works to commence late this year.
For more information on Inland Rail, visit www.InlandRail.gov.au
Minister Coulton – Sophie Harris 0491 135 852
ARTC Media – Amber Gilmore 0408 008 338