Transcript - Benalla Doorstop

JOURNALIST

You’ve obviously been hearing about all of this, what do you plan on doing now?

MICHAEL McCORMACK

Look, certainly I came here to listen, I came here to hear what the community's concerns were. I have heard those. I've heard from the mayors, I've heard from the proponents of the community consultative committees. And certainly, I was pleased that Mark Campbell – who’s obviously heading up the ARTC – I’m pleased to hear that he's engaged with these local communities, he’s not only engaged with them but he's been here as have I. So we'll go back, we'll have those talks and discussions and see what we can do.

JOURNALIST

And do you reckon – how likely is it that you'll actually be able to implement the changes that these communities would like?

MICHAEL McCORMACK

Well, as I say, we'll take it on board, of course, you've got to take on board costings, you've got to take on board designs. You can't just turn up and say, “I'm going to fix it just like that.” There's a lot to be arranged and organised and of course, you have to have engineers. The whole way through, we've endeavoured and certainly since I’ve been the Minister for Infrastructure and Transport, to listen to communities, to act upon their concerns. You're not going to get something that is going to be 100% satisfactory for all. But we want these communities to benefit from the Inland Rail. That's why we've actually invested $14.5 billion in the Inland Rail process and I know the first section from Parkes to Narromine has been completed. I see that 99 local businesses have been able to procure $110 million of investment. So, all up and down the line there is 13 sections of Inland Rail, local communities will benefit from that. But we of course, have got to get the design right, we've got to get the route right and that's what we’re doing.

JOURNALIST

And of course, being here, has that changed the way you viewed it at all, like actually being able to see what the community is actually wanting?

MICHAEL McCORMACK

It's been good to come and listen to people. It's been good to listen to people but also to see the passion. I mean you can see people – some are wearing union t-shirts and good on you. There's people wearing ‘Save our Station’ t-shirts and I understand that you can actually buy those t-shirts. So you know, there's obviously community spirit here. People want what's best for their community, they live in those regions. I live in a regional community, the Inland Rail was coming through my hometown. So I understand not only the benefits, but I also understand the impacts.

JOURNALIST

And did you learn anything new just from that?

MICHAEL McCORMACK

It's good to hear the underpass versus overpass. It's good to hear the track on this side of the station, track on that side of the station options. And I'll certainly go back and I’ll have chat with Mark Campbell, I’ll have a chat to Warren Truss as I have with Richard Wankmuller who's obviously leaving the Inland Rail. He's moving on because he was only going to be there for a certain time. So you know, we'll certainly have those discussions going forward.

JOURNALIST

When can the community expect to hear more?

MICHAEL McCORMACK

Soon, I'm not going to put deadlines on it. I've promised the community that I will certainly continue that engagement. Open up the process and, like I say, we've been open to that all along and I'll certainly be in touch.

Media contacts:

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