Ministers for the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications https://minister.infrastructure.gov.au/ Latest releases from the Ministers en Work begins on next stage of southern feeder road, linking Leewood to the highway https://minister.infrastructure.gov.au/gee/media-release/work-begins-next-stage-southern-feeder-road-linking-leewood-highway <p>Work has begun on the $7.5 million next stage of Orange’s southern feeder road.</p> <p>Community leaders gathered today for a brief ceremony to signal the start of work.</p> <p>Attending the event are Orange Mayor Cr Reg Kidd, Member for Calare Andrew Gee, NSW Roads Minister Paul Toole, Upper House MP Sam Farraway, Member for Orange Phil Donato and Orange City Council Infrastructure Committee chair Cr Jeff Whitton.</p> <p>The 2 kilometre long project which follows the same line as Dairy Creek Road and Blowes Road from Elsham Avenue to the Mitchell Highway, includes:</p> <ul> <li>a new intersection where the new road meets the highway about 250 metres west of the current intersection</li> <li>kerb and guttering from Elsham Avenue to Lone Pine Avenue and at the intersection of Calton Road</li> <li>new street lighting for the entire length of the road</li> <li>and a new shared pedestrian/cycle path from Elsham Avenue to Kurim Avenue, connecting to the existing path which crosses the railway line.</li> </ul> <p>Funding for the project is shared by Orange City Council, the Australian Government and the NSW Government. The funding sources for the project are:</p> <ul> <li>The Australian Government’s Heavy Vehicle Safety and Productivity Program – $3 million</li> <li>The NSW Government’s Infrastructure NSW Program (Regional Growth) – $3 million</li> <li>Orange City Council – $1.5 million</li> </ul> <p><strong>Orange Mayor Reg Kidd welcomed the start of work on stage 3 of the southern feeder road, which is designed as a major transport link around the southern side of Orange once complete.</strong></p> <p>“The southern feeder road will be one of the most important assets in the city’s road network,” Cr Reg Kidd said. “Once the whole road is complete, it will provide a vital link between the major highways into Orange.</p> <p>“This part of south Orange is a crucial infrastructure zone which includes hospitals, medical student training, the Leewood industrial estate and the new Shiralee housing area. This new road is about better, more efficient connections.”</p> <p><strong>Federal Member for Calare and Minister for Regional Education and Decentralisation, Andrew Gee MP has welcomed the start of the project.</strong></p> <p>“It’s great that shovels have hit the ground on such a vital project,” Mr Gee said. “The benefits of Stage 3 of the Southern Feeder Road Project will be far-reaching for the Orange region.”</p> <p>“The area is a thoroughfare for Leewood Estate, Orange Health Service, Cadia Mine and those travelling to and from the East Coast. Roadworks will also create a link to the new Shiralee Housing Estate topping off the enormous value Stage 3 offers both locals and tree-changers making the move to country Australia,” Mr Gee said.</p> <p><strong>NSW Minister for Regional Transport and Roads Paul Toole said the commencement of stage 3 was great news for road users in the Central West.</strong></p> <p>“Once completed, this road will provide a crucial connection for freight traffic and will make journeys safer, faster and more reliable for all motorists,” Mr Toole said.</p> <p>“Road upgrades such as these are highly important to regional areas as they increase productivity, drive local jobs and create more opportunities for the agricultural and transport sector.”</p> <p><strong>Upper House MP Sam Farraway said that these works on the Southern Feeder road were vital to improved connectivity and driver safety.</strong></p> <p>“To see stages one and two of this vital project completed was fantastic, but to know that works on stage 3 are now underway I’m sure will be a massive relief to many who use this road.</p> <p>“The efforts by Council, State and Federal Governments and the community to upgrade and improve this notorious stretch of road should be commended. When completed these works will save time and save lives.</p> <p><strong>Orange City Council Infrastructure Committee chair Cr Jeff Whitton believes a steady flow of infrastructure projects is good for the local economy.</strong></p> <p>“While there are clear benefits for Orange of better transport infrastructure, a steady flow of projects like this is good for a business economy,” Cr Jeff Whitton said. “Local suppliers and local contractors are finding work when the council builds new roads and new roundabouts.”</p> <p>“Whether it’s a new private hospital, the government office block or major roadworks like this, multi-million dollar projects have flow-on effects through the Orange community.”</p> <h4>FURTHER INFORMATION:</h4> <p><strong>The Elsham Ave to Lone Pine Ave section will be 14m wide kerb to kerb, with a single travel lane plus a parking lane in each direction.</strong></p> <p>The Lone Pine Ave to Mitchell Highway section (no kerb and gutter) will be a single travel lane in each direction with a 2 metre shoulder (11 metre width total).</p> <p>The project is expected to be completed, weather permitting, by the middle of next year.</p> <p>The road will be closed for the duration of the works, with local access for residents available. Detours for heavy vehicles are in place via McLachlan Street, Moulder Street and Edward Street for access into Leewood.</p> <p>Orange City Council awarded the $6.7 million construction tender to Hamcon, the same company currently building the new bypass-Hill St roundabout. Total project value is $7.5 million. Other work includes relocation of services such as telecommunications and power.</p> Gee Work begins on next stage of southern feeder road, linking Leewood to the highway Innovation in safety celebrated at heavy vehicle industry awards https://minister.infrastructure.gov.au/buchholz/media-release/innovation-safety-celebrated-heavy-vehicle-industry-awards <p>Heavy Vehicle Industry Australia (HVIA) today announced the winners of a suite of awards, for leadership and innovation, in the heavy vehicle sector.</p> <p>Speaking at the event in Brisbane, Assistant Minister for Road Safety and Freight Transport, Scott Buchholz announced the HVIA’s Safety Innovation Award winner.</p> <p>Mr Buchholz said the HVIA awards acknowledged and celebrated the industry’s hard-working members, who continued to excel in providing innovative solutions to improve safety and productivity in the road transport sector.</p> <p>“The COVID-19 pandemic has placed unprecedented pressure on Australia’s freight and logistics sector. Our national economy relies on keeping freight moving.</p> <p>“A lot of work goes into making sure that happens and during the pandemic, the industry rose to the challenge.</p> <p>“Again today, I congratulate the entire heavy vehicle industry; transport operators, manufacturers, repairers and drivers on a job well done. Through your joint efforts you have ensured that our trucks and trailers have stayed on the road and freight kept moving,” Mr Buchholz said.</p> <p>HVIA CEO Todd Hacking, echoed these sentiments, “Whilst 2020 has been a tough year for all, it is more important than ever to celebrate and acknowledge all of our nominees.  All of them have demonstrated a commitment to safety, innovation, and technological advancement, to improve productivity and keep freight moving safely”, Mr Hacking said.</p> <p>“It gives me great pleasure today, to announce the winner of the Safety Innovation Award  - JOST Australia,” Mr Buchholz announced.</p> <p>JOST Australia won the award for developing a Pneumatically Operated Sensor Fifth Wheel, which reduces the likelihood of a dropped trailer, which can cause serious injury.</p> <p>“Innovating in new technologies, to make our heavy transport industry safer is a big credit to JOST Australia.</p> <p>“I congratulate the entire team on their efforts in developing this technology, which will reduce the risk of injury and increase accessibility for drivers.</p> <p>“The Australian Government has a strong focus on improving safety in the industry, through programs such as the Heavy Vehicle Safety Initiative, which provides $5.9 million in Round 5 for twenty-six projects,” Mr Buchholz said.</p> <p>Mr Buchholz congratulated award recipients in all categories:</p> <ul> <li>National Apprentice of the Year Award – Joel Dunstan, The Brown &amp; Hurley Group</li> <li>Peter Langworthy Future Leader Award – John Jackson, Brimarco</li> <li>Community Leadership Award – Maxitrans Industries</li> <li>Product Innovation Award – Tiger Spider</li> <li>Safety Innovation Award – Jost Australia</li> <li>Industry Recognition Award – Mr Rob Perkins</li> </ul> <p>The awards are open to HVIA member companies and their employees, across Australia. Full details of each award can be found at <a href="https://hvia.asn.au/events/hvia-national-awards/">https://hvia.asn.au/events/hvia-national-awards/</a></p> <h2><strong>Media Contacts:</strong></h2> <p><strong>Mr Buchholz</strong> – Scott O’Connell – 0413 424 384</p> Buchholz Innovation in safety celebrated at heavy vehicle industry awards Thomson Oval pavilion opens https://minister.infrastructure.gov.au/mccormack/media-release/thomson-oval-pavilion-opens <p>A much-anticipated new pavilion at Thomson Oval, Artarmon, was formally opened on Saturday by Willoughby City Council Mayor Gail Giles-Gidney and federal member Trent Zimmerman.</p> <p>Funded $515,000 from the Australian Government and $500,000 from council, the existing brick building was demolished and replaced with the new pavilion. It includes public toilets, change rooms, canteen, storage, rainwater tank and new landscaping.</p> <p>Mayor Giles-Gidney said the facility provided more flexibility and usability for clubs as they can store their equipment and utilise better change rooms.</p> <p>“The design was carefully considered to take advantage of cross ventilation, preserve trees for shade and maximise the space,” she said.</p> <p>The Thomson Oval and nearby Park is on council land acquired 95 years ago and is more in demand now than ever.</p> <p>“Outdoor spaces and ovals like this one have been popular during the pandemic, providing recreation and exercise space when team sports and gyms were closed.”</p> <p>Thomson Park and Oval is named after Dugald Thomson, the person who first held the federal seat of North Sydney that Trent Zimmerman MP now occupies. Mr Zimmerman secured the Australian Government funding for the pavilion.</p> <p>He said the project provided a much-needed upgrade to the highly utilised park for all to enjoy in the community.</p> <p>“This project has upgraded the current sports pavilion amenities by demolishing the existing outdated toilet block and constructing a new modern amenity block including male and female public amenities rooms, change rooms with showers and toilets, a kiosk and improved accessibility,” he said.</p> <p>“Thomson Oval is used extensively by community groups. Artarmon Public School use the oval as their part of their playground, local sporting groups extensively utilise the artificial grass playing surface and amenities all year round, and the residents of the adjoining high density housing utilise the facilities as a general green space”.</p> <p>Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Michael McCormack said the Australian Government’s $515,000 investment in community infrastructure would provide long term benefits to North Sydney.</p> <p>“This investment block will benefit the patrons of this highly utilised community asset by providing modern, clean and safe facilities as well as improved accessibility to the amenities, parking and the oval in general,” the Deputy Prime Minister said.</p> <p>Thomson Oval is one of the busiest ovals in the area, used by over 1,000 people a week. </p> <p>Regular users/hirers include:</p> <ul> <li>Northern Suburbs Football Association</li> <li>Chatswood Rangers Football Club</li> <li>Northbridge Football Club</li> <li>North Shore Junior Cricket Association</li> <li>Artarmon Public School</li> </ul> <p>Northbridge Football Club and Chatswood Rangers will share operation of the new canteen space.</p> McCormack Thomson Oval pavilion opens Transcript - 2VM Radio Interview https://minister.infrastructure.gov.au/mccormack/interview/transcript-2vm-radio-interview <p class="MsoListParagraphCxSpFirst"><strong>CAMERON SCOTT-BOHANNA </strong></p> <p class="MsoListParagraphCxSpMiddle">Good morning, you're with Cameron here. This is the brekky show here on 2VN and a very special project, we've been talking about it with local Mayors for the past couple of months or so, but here to make it official is the Member for Parkes, Mark Coulton and also the Deputy Prime Minister, Michael McCormack. Good morning, gentlemen.</p> <p class="MsoListParagraphCxSpMiddle"><strong>MARK COULTON</strong></p> <p class="MsoListParagraphCxSpMiddle">Morning, Cameron.</p> <p class="MsoListParagraphCxSpMiddle"><strong>MICHAEL McCORMACK</strong></p> <p class="MsoListParagraphCxSpMiddle">Morning, Cameron.</p> <p class="MsoListParagraphCxSpMiddle"><strong>CAMERON SCOTT-BOHANNA </strong></p> <p class="MsoListParagraphCxSpMiddle">And it's a pretty momentous occasion here. I see you brought the big guns up to Moree with Michael McCormack. How important is this project for people in the north?</p> <p class="MsoListParagraphCxSpMiddle"><strong>MARK COULTON</strong></p> <p class="MsoListParagraphCxSpMiddle">Look, this is Stage 2 of 13 stages for the project. So, two years ago we did the sod turn for Parkes to Narromine, it's now completed and running trains. This is a big deal, Cameron. So it's a 171-kilometre section, that's Narrabri to North Star and it will make an enormous difference, not only for the construction period – obviously it's going to be a huge shot in the arm for all the communities, Moree, Cropper Creek, North Star, Bellata, Gurley, all those places will get, you know, a boost over the next couple of years. But in the long term the efficient freight for local produce is going to provide huge savings to farmers.</p> <p class="MsoListParagraphCxSpMiddle"><strong>CAMERON SCOTT-BOHANNA </strong></p> <p class="MsoListParagraphCxSpMiddle">Fantastic. I might go to you, Michael McCormack. Tell us some of the facts about these Inland Rail projects. 25,000 tonnes of steel, is that right?</p> <p class="MsoListParagraphCxSpMiddle"><strong>MICHAEL McCORMACK</strong></p> <p class="MsoListParagraphCxSpMiddle">Twenty-five thousand tonnes of Whyalla, Australian steel, so that's even better. There's 224,939 sleepers from a Wagga Wagga company. I come from Wagga Wagga so that's great. Mark would say it's the best thing to come out of Wagga Wagga to this area for quite some time.</p> <p class="MsoListParagraphCxSpMiddle"><strong>MARK COULTON</strong></p> <p class="MsoListParagraphCxSpMiddle">There's lots of sleepers that come from Wagga Wagga.</p> <p class="MsoListParagraphCxSpMiddle"><strong>MICHAEL McCORMACK</strong></p> <p class="MsoListParagraphCxSpMiddle">I knew he'd have a crack somewhere along the line, Cameron. A bit of friendly fire. But, look, it is a great project and as Mark has just said, 500 jobs. The local procurement, I know in the first section, Narromine to Parkes, hundreds upon hundreds of jobs but, indeed, 99 small local businesses benefitted to the tune of $110 million of procurement. So they're big numbers.</p> <p class="MsoListParagraphCxSpMiddle">That money flows throughout the area and Mark knows that jobs are so important, particularly as we come out of hopefully what is the back of COVID-19 and of course, the drought and so many other things have affected regional Australia, but Mark's in there fighting. He's been an advocate of this since before he got even into Parliament but certainly his first speech he was talking about Inland Rail, talking about the benefits of getting product from paddock to port within 24 hours and that's what the Inland Rail brings.</p> <p class="MsoListParagraphCxSpMiddle"><strong>CAMERON SCOTT-BOHANNA </strong></p> <p class="MsoListParagraphCxSpMiddle">And Mark, tell us exactly how many jobs are going to be created with this new scheme and especially locally.</p> <p class="MsoListParagraphCxSpMiddle"><strong>MARK COULTON</strong></p> <p class="MsoListParagraphCxSpMiddle">So in this section, Cameron, about 500 jobs through construction. It's a nearly $700 million project. It's about $692 million, so that's considerable. That's direct jobs. And then, you know, like the flow-on, as Michael said, local contractors, local stores. I know the folks up at the Cropper Creek store are gearing up for the extra people coming through and that will flow right through. Even this morning showing Michael the delights of having breakfast in a cafe in Moree and there were three or four tables of people there from Inland Rail. So, you know, that flows through, right through nearly every business in town.</p> <p class="MsoListParagraphCxSpMiddle"><strong>CAMERON SCOTT-BOHANNA </strong></p> <p class="MsoListParagraphCxSpMiddle">And you're just about to head off to a stakeholder event, can you tell us a bit more about that?</p> <p class="MsoListParagraphCxSpMiddle"><strong>MARK COULTON</strong></p> <p class="MsoListParagraphCxSpMiddle">So the sod turn, very pleased to have my friend and colleague Michael McCormack in town. It's a great honour to have the Deputy Prime Minister visit but it's also a great honour to bring together, so I have Ron Campbell, the Mayor of Narrabri, Katrina Humphries, Mayor of here. My brother, John Coulton, the Mayor of Gwydir.</p> <p class="MsoListParagraphCxSpMiddle"><strong>MICHAEL McCORMACK</strong></p> <p class="MsoListParagraphCxSpMiddle">My favourite Coulton.</p> <p class="MsoListParagraphCxSpMiddle"><strong>MARK COULTON</strong></p> <p class="MsoListParagraphCxSpMiddle">And local community members as well because the councils here have really – they've really worked hard for this project as well. You know these projects, Cameron, aren't without disruption. You know, it does cause some difficulties for some people but the councils have seen the long-term benefits. They're planning what comes off the Inland Rail. You know, we've got the Special Activation Precinct here in Moree. We've got the inland port in Narrabri, you know, there would be an intermodal at Cropper Creek. All of those projects, you know, take a lot of planning but the benefits long term are immense.</p> <p class="MsoListParagraphCxSpMiddle"><strong>CAMERON SCOTT-BOHANNA </strong></p> <p class="MsoListParagraphCxSpMiddle">And what's the time frame for this project to be completed?</p> <p class="MsoListParagraphCxSpMiddle"><strong>MICHAEL McCORMACK</strong></p> <p class="MsoListParagraphCxSpMiddle">It's going to take several years because it's still a working line and so it will take several years, so that's several years of local jobs. Several years of local procurement. So whilst it will take some time, and of course the whole project, 1,700 kilometres, will be finished in the mid-2020s. This is a major project and it’s one of the most significant projects to come to this area for a while, for some time. And we're very proud of it and we know the benefits that it will bring, not just in the construction phase but certainly post-construction when those – that product and we get some of the best product from Coulton's electorate of Parkes to port and of course, we can increase our export opportunities as a result.</p> <p class="MsoListParagraphCxSpMiddle"><strong>CAMERON SCOTT-BOHANNA </strong></p> <p class="MsoListParagraphCxSpMiddle">And that will be great news for growers as well, won't it, because a lot of green goes through here, especially down to Newcastle and up to Gladstone and stuff. So it might make it a lot easier.</p> <p class="MsoListParagraphCxSpMiddle"><strong>MARK COULTON</strong></p> <p class="MsoListParagraphCxSpMiddle">It will give a lot of options. You know, the possibility of grain from southern Queensland, actually, to go out the Port of Newcastle, you know, if there's a deal going from a shipping company like that, but even now, you know, under the current network, local farmers here are sending barley to a malt in Geelong. It takes them a couple of days to get that train through the network at the moment. So the efficiency of running a train, you know, say from Cropper Creek to Geelong, because they've got the special barley that, you know, there's only one place that can process it, the cost per tonne for that operation will be enormous and that's just one example of the savings that we'll get.</p> <p class="MsoListParagraphCxSpMiddle"><strong>CAMERON SCOTT-BOHANNA </strong></p> <p class="MsoListParagraphCxSpMiddle">Awesome. Thanks so much for joining us today, gentlemen. I know you've got the stakeholder event and the monumentous turning of the sod a little bit later on, 8:30am or something like that?</p> <p class="MsoListParagraphCxSpMiddle"><strong>MICHAEL McCORMACK</strong></p> <p class="MsoListParagraphCxSpMiddle">Around about then.</p> <p class="MsoListParagraphCxSpMiddle"><strong>CAMERON SCOTT-BOHANNA </strong></p> <p class="MsoListParagraphCxSpMiddle">So I won't keep you any longer.</p> <p class="MsoListParagraphCxSpMiddle"><strong>MICHAEL McCORMACK</strong></p> <p class="MsoListParagraphCxSpMiddle">A momentous occasion.</p> <p class="MsoListParagraphCxSpMiddle"><strong>CAMERON SCOTT-BOHANNA </strong></p> <p class="MsoListParagraphCxSpMiddle">Thanks very much for joining us today guys and all the best.</p> <p class="MsoListParagraphCxSpMiddle"><strong>MARK COULTON</strong></p> <p class="MsoListParagraphCxSpMiddle">Thanks, Cameron.</p> <p class="MsoListParagraphCxSpMiddle"><strong>MICHAEL McCORMACK</strong></p> <p class="MsoListParagraphCxSpMiddle">Thanks, Cameron.</p> <p class="MsoListParagraphCxSpMiddle"><strong>8:19AM</strong></p> <h2 class="MsoListParagraphCxSpMiddle"><strong>Media contacts: </strong></h2> <p class="MsoListParagraph">Jo Williamson, 0418 475 668<br /> Dean Shachar, 0418 202 860</p> McCormack Transcript - 2VM Radio Interview Transcript - Press Conference Moree https://minister.infrastructure.gov.au/mccormack/media-release/transcript-press-conference-moree <p class="MsoListParagraphCxSpFirst"><strong>MICHAEL McCORMACK</strong></p> <p class="MsoListParagraphCxSpMiddle">We are standing on traditional custodians' land then, now and always and acknowledge what Indigenous people are going to do for this project and how they're going to benefit from this project.</p> <p class="MsoListParagraphCxSpMiddle">I acknowledge my great friend and colleague, Mark Coulton. No-one works harder as a Local Member than Mark Coulton in the entire Federal Parliament. And I would say that – I say that with every bit of earnestness and honesty because he gets out in his huge electorate, it is such a large electorate, but he's in there fighting and advocating and most importantly, fighting and advocating for jobs.</p> <p class="MsoListParagraphCxSpMiddle">And if there's one thing that we all know that is important this year as we hopefully come out of the back of COVID-19, hopefully come out of the back of drought and everything else that's beset regional Australia in recent years, it's jobs. And we need more jobs and this project is going to deliver at least 500 direct jobs, let alone the indirect jobs that the Inland Rail project from Narrabri to North Star is going to deliver for these regional communities.</p> <p class="MsoListParagraphCxSpMiddle">And we've got a plethora of Mayors, I'm not quite sure what you call a collection of Mayors, but we've got Katrina Humphries; we've got my favourite Carlton, John, we've got Ron Campbell, we've got – who else have we got? Jamie Chaffey. Have I covered you all off? Good. And we've got Richard Wankmuller who is the CEO of Inland Rail and Mark Campbell who’s the CEO of the ARTC. And we've got a whole host of other distinguished guests. And certainly, each and every one of you is important because this is a momentous day.</p> <p class="MsoListParagraphCxSpMiddle">And just consider some of the statistics around this project. There's 341,000 sleepers, many of which are just here, nearly a quarter of a million of which have come from Wagga Wagga. And I'm pretty proud of that but the rest have come from Mittagong. We've got, I just heard, 78,000 tonnes of steel. That steel is from Whyalla. It is Australian steel. So, therefore, there's jobs from South Australia, of course, taking part and feeding into this wonderful process.</p> <p class="MsoListParagraphCxSpMiddle">We've got 171 kilometres of track, $693.8 million of activity over the next two and a half, three years, however long it's going to take to build. This is one of the largest and most complex sections of the Inland Rail because it's a working rail. Now, I know when we finished the Narromine to Parkes section it wasn't quite as long, Richard. I think I'm pretty sure in saying that.</p> <p class="MsoListParagraphCxSpMiddle">But $110 million of local procurement to 99 small local businesses. That was the benefit of Narromine to Parkes. So, goodness knows what will be the benefit of Narrabri to North Star. These are impressive statistics. These are big numbers and we're proud of them. Mark Coulton mentioned Inland Rail in his maiden speech. He was advocating for this project way before he got into Parliament in 2007 and he's been passionate about this project because he knows the benefit of taking the wonderful produce from this region, the Parkes electorate, Northern New South Wales, North-Western New South Wales – as I say, it's a massive, massive electorate – getting it to port within 24 hours.</p> <p class="MsoListParagraphCxSpMiddle">And of course, as Mark always tells me, you grow the best grain here. You grow the best stock here and he's nodding his head approvingly. Of course, I would argue that Riverina does pretty well too. But wherever Inland Rail extends, through the Riverina, through Mark's electorate, through Victoria, through Queensland – and that's going to be a big project too – it is going to generate confidence. It is going to generate local business activity. It is going to benefit jobs, create jobs, create opportunities and that's what Inland Rail is all about.</p> <p class="MsoListParagraphCxSpMiddle">So, I'm pretty excited to be here today. It's a momentous and historic occasion. It's the second of 13 sections of this nation-building, nation-transforming project, which is going to benefit regional Australia like never before. Mark.</p> <p class="MsoListParagraphCxSpMiddle"><strong>MARK COULTON</strong></p> <p class="MsoListParagraphCxSpMiddle">Thank you Michael and it's great to be here. Lloydie, thank you for your welcome and I know you've been working for a lot of time on the jobs project and I'm extremely confident, Lloyd, that the Moree people are going to not only get a boost of employment through construction but permanent employment that's going to come from the wealth of this line [indistinct]. So – and it might be acknowledged that the Mayors starting from the north and moving south, John, Katrina, Ron, Jamie. This project is big. It's beneficial. But it's hard. You know, anything that's worthwhile is hard.</p> <p class="MsoListParagraphCxSpMiddle">And I want to congratulate the Mayors because they've actually taken up the challenge of leadership in their communities to get this project across the line and not quite the same everywhere along the full route, as you might understand. And so that's why, you know, this – this project is going so well because they've been able to see, right from the start, the long-term benefits. And I'm, you know, extremely confident that should I be able to come back in 50 years’ time – and that won't be possible – but this whole entire north-west is going to be very, very different to what it is now.</p> <p class="MsoListParagraphCxSpMiddle">And so, you know, Michael, thank you for being here today. You know, Michael turned up a couple of years after me in Canberra. We're great mates. This project today is $698 million. But keep in mind that Michael is managing projects across the country of $100 billion at the moment. So, the stimulus that the Government is putting out to lift this country out of the recession that we found ourselves in because of coronavirus is largely being led by Michael and his team. So, thank you for being here today.</p> <p class="MsoListParagraphCxSpMiddle">Michael did mention that the sleepers came from Wagga Wagga and I have known an odd sleeper from Wagga Wagga and I think that's quite appropriate. But, you know, this – we're getting a bit of a glimpse of what rail means. I stay in a motel in Narrabri and at the moment that motel is hosting three companies' train crews and that's just from the Narrabri area. There's trains that are running, I think they tell me, Katrina, 6,000 tonne capacity trains coming out of Moree now, to get this massive harvest supports as quickly as possible. And because of the big harvest, you know, like Richard, I take my hat off to your team because they work very closely with the local communities, with the grain handlers, with the farmers, to enable a production – a construction program with that, which has the least amount of disruption to getting the grain to port.</p> <p class="MsoListParagraphCxSpMiddle">And so, this will be done in various stages and we'll see crews moving from one end to another, largely because of the timing to have the line open for the maximum amount of time. So, thank you all for being here. I'm incredibly excited. As a Mayor of Gwydir, I remember going to an Inland Rail meeting in the town of Parkes, I think in 2004. So this has been a long time coming but it's a big project. There's a lot of moving parts and to get to this point where we're actually going to see machinery working along the line is very exciting. So congratulations everyone that's here and well done. Thank you.</p> <p class="MsoListParagraphCxSpMiddle"><strong>QUESTION </strong></p> <p class="MsoListParagraphCxSpMiddle">When will it be starting?</p> <p class="MsoListParagraphCxSpMiddle"><strong>MICHAEL McCORMACK</strong></p> <p class="MsoListParagraphCxSpMiddle">As soon as Mark Coulton, who is the Minister for Local Government for Regional Health and Regional Communications, as soon as he gets that shovel into that dirt, the project’s on its way. It's already on its way. I mean, we've had a lot of steel dropped off. We've had a lot of the sleepers dropped off. So, work has already begun and we're all pretty excited about that. We're already seeing the benefits.</p> <p class="MsoListParagraphCxSpMiddle"><strong>QUESTION </strong></p> <p class="MsoListParagraphCxSpMiddle">How long is it expected to take?</p> <p class="MsoListParagraphCxSpMiddle"><strong>MICHAEL McCORMACK</strong></p> <p class="MsoListParagraphCxSpMiddle">Well, it's going to take several years. There's no question. I'm not going to put an end timeframe on it, but it is going to take several years. It is a major project. It's one of the largest infrastructure projects, just this section, in the nation right now. And Mark has just mentioned, we've got $110 billion of infrastructure rolling out right across the nation. We've building dams. We're building the Western Sydney Airport, Nancy Bird Walton International Airport. We're getting on and we're building the Melbourne Airport Rail Link. But of all of those, in regional Australia, this is one of, if not the biggest projects that we've got going at the moment. And we're extremely proud of it. And I know how pleased Richard Wankmuller and his team are to be working on this project.</p> <p class="MsoListParagraphCxSpMiddle"><strong>MARK COULTON</strong></p> <p class="MsoListParagraphCxSpMiddle">Michael, can I just add mainly an explanation. There's actually – the Narrabri to North Star section has a bit from Alice Street to the Camurra Siding is actually a different project. And so, because of the complexities of crossing the rivers and the floodplains, the realignment of the Weemelah line. So we are at different stages. So some members of the Moree community are still in the very early stages of working through the project with the Inland Rail crew. So I think that's worth noting, it will come at a slightly later stage because of the complexity of that project: a couple of rivers, a couple of bridges to cross and things like that.</p> <p class="MsoListParagraphCxSpMiddle"><strong>JOURNALIST </strong></p> <p class="MsoListParagraphCxSpMiddle">And what impact will it have on Moree over this time?</p> <p class="MsoListParagraphCxSpMiddle"><strong>MARK COULTON</strong></p> <p class="MsoListParagraphCxSpMiddle">Look, I think – we had coffee, breakfast in a cafe here this morning. Half to three-quarters of the people in there were associated with this project. And so that's going to flow through to the local businesses, obviously the motels, fuel supplies. I’ve heard one of the well-known – I better not mention who it is – but a well-established local business not far from here, saying he believes that the Inland Rail project will give his business that big a boost that it could set him up for retirement. That's the level of excitement that we're looking at.</p> <p class="MsoListParagraphCxSpMiddle">So all these machines, they need oil, they need fuel, they need bearings. They – you know, they need people to drive them. We need concrete, we need bobcats, we need cranes, we need fences, we need electricians, we need people that put up phone towers. The scope of this project is enormous.</p> <p class="MsoListParagraphCxSpMiddle"><strong>JOURNALIST</strong></p> <p class="MsoListParagraphCxSpMiddle">Minister, if I could ask you one question while you're there as well. In a lot of regional areas you sometimes see councils competing against each other. How pleasing to see councils lined here today, all unified [indaudible]</p> <p class="MsoListParagraphCxSpMiddle"><strong>MARK COULTON</strong></p> <p class="MsoListParagraphCxSpMiddle">That's great. I had to insist – because of COVID-19 – they wanted to hold hands. So you know, we had to sort of spread them out a bit. But look, I'm pleased – my electorate, I have 18 Councils plus the unincorporated area. And as the Local Government Minister for Australia, the relationship with the Commonwealth, with Local Government, is so important. You know, the councils are directly more responsible to States. But at times that we've had with the drought for stimulus, we go to the councils. COVID-19, we want to put a stimulus into the community we go to Councils.</p> <p class="MsoListParagraphCxSpMiddle">We want to build a big project from Melbourne to Brisbane, who's going to make that happen? The Councils. And so, they are so important and I'm blessed. One of them is a bit rough around the edges, known him for a while. But, you know it’s a great partnership.</p> <p class="MsoListParagraphCxSpMiddle">And I should mention the State Government as well. Adam is an apology today and they're doing their bit now working with the Council, with the special activation precinct. They've thrown some dollars into the port at Narrabri as well. And so, it's a real – three levels of Government plus the local community. That's what makes it happen.</p> <p class="MsoListParagraphCxSpMiddle"><strong>MICHAEL McCORMACK</strong></p> <p class="MsoListParagraphCxSpMiddle">Let's get on with it.</p> <p class="MsoListParagraphCxSpMiddle"><strong>9.58AM</strong></p> <h2 class="MsoListParagraphCxSpMiddle"><strong>Media contacts: </strong></h2> <p class="MsoListParagraph">Jo Williamson, 0418 475 668<br /> Dean Shachar, 0418 202 86</p> McCormack Transcript - Press Conference Moree Inland Rail breaks ground on Narrabri to North Star https://minister.infrastructure.gov.au/mccormack/media-release/inland-rail-breaks-ground-narrabri-north-star <p>Progress on the Australian Government Inland Rail project continues, with the second section of the 1,700 kilometre Melbourne to Brisbane freight line between Narrabri and North Star (N2NS) now under construction.</p> <p>The Deputy Prime Minister and Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Minister Michael McCormack and local member Mark Coulton were on site in Moree, New South Wales to turn the first sod of soil on the 171 kilometres of track upgrades.</p> <p>This stage of the Australian Government’s transformational Inland Rail project will support more than 500 direct jobs from the contractor, with many others to follow for sub-contractors and businesses in the regions. And it will deliver millions in economic stimulus to north western NSW.</p> <p>“It seems like just yesterday I turned the first sod on Inland Rail in Parkes and today we celebrate another momentous occasion with the commencement of the second section between Narrabri to North Star, an equally significant event,” Mr McCormack said.</p> <p>“This year we completed the first section of Inland Rail between Parkes and Narromine, which has enhanced the connectivity of the national network, joining the east-west Perth line to the north and south spine.</p> <p>“Today’s event in Moree marks real progress on the Inland Rail project which has been talked about since Federation.”</p> <p>Mr McCormack said regional Australians were benefiting now, when they need it most, from the record-breaking investment the Liberals and Nationals are making into infrastructure – including Inland Rail – right across the nation.</p> <p>“The $693.8 million construction effort on Narrabri and North Star brings immediate stimulus to the regional communities of Narrabri, Bellata, Moree, Croppa Creek and North Star and those townships in between,” Mr McCormack said.</p> <p>“In real terms, it means more money spent locally, more money spent with local, regional and Australian businesses at the same time as building an asset that will benefit our nation for generations.</p> <p>“As we build Inland Rail, we lay the track for supply chain efficiencies that will boost the national economy.”</p> <p>Finance Minister Simon Birmingham described Inland Rail as critical infrastructure that will deliver major benefits to the nation and help boost the Australian economy.</p> <p>“I welcome the construction of the second section of Inland Rail, which once complete, will deliver cost savings for freight customers including Australian farmers, small businesses and manufacturers, while also providing economic stimulus at a time when Australia needs it most,” Minister Birmingham said.</p> <p>“Inland Rail’s fast, reliable and cost-competitive freight will increase the safety and efficiency of the national freight network and ensure Australian businesses can remain globally competitive and deliver their products to markets in Australia and overseas with more ease.</p> <p>Local Member for Parkes and Minister for Regional Health, Regional Communications and Local Government, Mark Coulton said today’s milestone in Moree at the heart of the Narrabri to North Star section showed Inland Rail was on track for all the right reasons.</p> <p>“Inland Rail is one of the main reasons I got into politics, so today’s sod turn is a very proud moment for me, and a key achievement for the Australian Government,” Minister Coulton said.</p> <p>"It’s a project that will open up eastern Australia for business and allow farmers to get their products to domestic and international markets, which is welcome news for the councils in North West NSW that represent a region rich in agriculture.</p> <p>“Inland Rail is necessary to meet Australia’s growing freight transport task for the next 50 years, and all levels of government are working together to leverage the long-term benefits of Inland Rail to attract new businesses to regional Australia.</p> <p>“From the special activation precinct in Moree to Narrabri’s Inland Port, private businesses and industry are setting up shop because they can see the long-term growth Inland Rail is bringing to these regional communities.”</p> <p>Minister Coulton said he was pleased the community could engage with the contractor for N2NS, Trans4m Rail, at upcoming information sessions at North Star, Moree and Narrabri to learn more about regional employment and supply opportunities.</p> <p>The N2NS section of Inland Rail is being delivered through two distinct packages of work, with construction now underway on the initial upgrade to 171 kilometres of existing track.</p> <p>Further design work is progressing on the second package of N2NS construction which will see the preparation of an Environmental Impact Statement for the construction of new track between Moree and Camurra.</p> <p>For more details about the Trans4M Rail information sessions, visit <a href="https://inlandrail.artc.com.au/events/?_event_project=705 ">https://inlandrail.artc.com.au/events/?_event_project=705 </a></p> <h2><strong>Media Contact:</strong></h2> <p class="BoswellMediaHeader">Deputy Prime Minister – Jo Williamson 0418 475 668 | Dean Shachar 0418 202 860</p> <p class="BoswellMediaHeader">Minister Birmingham – Benn Ayre 0428 342 325</p> <p>Minister Coulton – Anna Conn 0491 135 852</p> McCormack Inland Rail breaks ground on Narrabri to North Star Transcript - 2VM Radio Interview https://minister.infrastructure.gov.au/coulton/interview/transcript-2vm-radio-interview <p><strong>CAMERON SCOTT-BOHANNA </strong></p> <p>Good morning, you're with Cameron here. This is the brekky show here on 2VN and a very special project, we've been talking about it with local Mayors for the past couple of months or so, but here to make it official is the Member for Parkes, Mark Coulton and also the Deputy Prime Minister, Michael McCormack. Good morning, gentlemen.</p> <p><strong>MARK COULTON</strong></p> <p>Morning, Cameron.</p> <p><strong>MICHAEL McCORMACK</strong></p> <p>Morning, Cameron.</p> <p><strong>CAMERON SCOTT-BOHANNA </strong></p> <p>And it's a pretty momentous occasion here. I see you brought the big guns up to Moree with Michael McCormack. How important is this project for people in the north?</p> <p><strong>MARK COULTON</strong></p> <p>Look, this is Stage 2 of 13 stages for the project. So, two years ago we did the sod turn for Parkes to Narromine, it's now completed and running trains. This is a big deal, Cameron. So it's a 171-kilometre section, that's Narrabri to North Star and it will make an enormous difference, not only for the construction period – obviously it's going to be a huge shot in the arm for all the communities, Moree, Cropper Creek, North Star, Bellata, Gurley, all those places will get, you know, a boost over the next couple of years. But in the long term the efficient freight for local produce is going to provide huge savings to farmers.</p> <p><strong>CAMERON SCOTT-BOHANNA </strong></p> <p>Fantastic. I might go to you, Michael McCormack. Tell us some of the facts about these Inland Rail projects. 25,000 tonnes of steel, is that right?</p> <p><strong>MICHAEL McCORMACK</strong></p> <p>Twenty-five thousand tonnes of Whyalla, Australian steel, so that's even better. There's 224,939 sleepers from a Wagga Wagga company. I come from Wagga Wagga so that's great. Mark would say it's the best thing to come out of Wagga Wagga to this area for quite some time.</p> <p><strong>MARK COULTON</strong></p> <p>There's lots of sleepers that come from Wagga Wagga.</p> <p><strong>MICHAEL McCORMACK</strong></p> <p>I knew he'd have a crack somewhere along the line, Cameron. A bit of friendly fire. But, look, it is a great project and as Mark has just said, 500 jobs. The local procurement, I know in the first section, Narromine to Parkes, hundreds upon hundreds of jobs but, indeed, 99 small local businesses benefitted to the tune of $110 million of procurement. So they're big numbers.</p> <p>That money flows throughout the area and Mark knows that jobs are so important, particularly as we come out of hopefully what is the back of COVID-19 and of course, the drought and so many other things have affected regional Australia, but Mark's in there fighting. He's been an advocate of this since before he got even into Parliament but certainly his first speech he was talking about Inland Rail, talking about the benefits of getting product from paddock to port within 24 hours and that's what the Inland Rail brings.</p> <p><strong>CAMERON SCOTT-BOHANNA </strong></p> <p>And Mark, tell us exactly how many jobs are going to be created with this new scheme and especially locally.</p> <p><strong>MARK COULTON</strong></p> <p>So in this section, Cameron, about 500 jobs through construction. It's a nearly $700 million project. It's about $692 million, so that's considerable. That's direct jobs. And then, you know, like the flow-on, as Michael said, local contractors, local stores. I know the folks up at the Cropper Creek store are gearing up for the extra people coming through and that will flow right through. Even this morning showing Michael the delights of having breakfast in a cafe in Moree and there were three or four tables of people there from Inland Rail. So, you know, that flows through, right through nearly every business in town.</p> <p><strong>CAMERON SCOTT-BOHANNA </strong></p> <p>And you're just about to head off to a stakeholder event, can you tell us a bit more about that?</p> <p><strong>MARK COULTON</strong></p> <p>So the sod turn, very pleased to have my friend and colleague Michael McCormack in town. It's a great honour to have the Deputy Prime Minister visit but it's also a great honour to bring together, so I have Ron Campbell, the Mayor of Narrabri, Katrina Humphries, Mayor of here. My brother, John Coulton, the Mayor of Gwydir.</p> <p><strong>MICHAEL McCORMACK</strong></p> <p>My favourite Coulton.</p> <p><strong>MARK COULTON</strong></p> <p>And local community members as well because the councils here have really – they've really worked hard for this project as well. You know these projects, Cameron, aren't without disruption. You know, it does cause some difficulties for some people but the councils have seen the long-term benefits. They're planning what comes off the Inland Rail. You know, we've got the Special Activation Precinct here in Moree. We've got the inland port in Narrabri, you know, there would be an intermodal at Cropper Creek. All of those projects, you know, take a lot of planning but the benefits long term are immense.</p> <p><strong>CAMERON SCOTT-BOHANNA </strong></p> <p>And what's the time frame for this project to be completed?</p> <p><strong>MICHAEL McCORMACK</strong></p> <p>It's going to take several years because it's still a working line and so it will take several years, so that's several years of local jobs. Several years of local procurement. So whilst it will take some time, and of course the whole project, 1,700 kilometres, will be finished in the mid-2020s. This is a major project and it’s one of the most significant projects to come to this area for a while, for some time. And we're very proud of it and we know the benefits that it will bring, not just in the construction phase but certainly post-construction when those – that product and we get some of the best product from Coulton's electorate of Parkes to port and of course, we can increase our export opportunities as a result.</p> <p><strong>CAMERON SCOTT-BOHANNA </strong></p> <p>And that will be great news for growers as well, won't it, because a lot of green goes through here, especially down to Newcastle and up to Gladstone and stuff. So it might make it a lot easier.</p> <p><strong>MARK COULTON</strong></p> <p>It will give a lot of options. You know, the possibility of grain from southern Queensland, actually, to go out the Port of Newcastle, you know, if there's a deal going from a shipping company like that, but even now, you know, under the current network, local farmers here are sending barley to a malt in Geelong. It takes them a couple of days to get that train through the network at the moment. So the efficiency of running a train, you know, say from Cropper Creek to Geelong, because they've got the special barley that, you know, there's only one place that can process it, the cost per tonne for that operation will be enormous and that's just one example of the savings that we'll get.</p> <p><strong>CAMERON SCOTT-BOHANNA </strong></p> <p>Awesome. Thanks so much for joining us today, gentlemen. I know you've got the stakeholder event and the monumentous turning of the sod a little bit later on, 8:30am or something like that?</p> <p><strong>MICHAEL McCORMACK</strong></p> <p>Around about then.</p> <p><strong>CAMERON SCOTT-BOHANNA </strong></p> <p>So I won't keep you any longer.</p> <p><strong>MICHAEL McCORMACK</strong></p> <p>A momentous occasion.</p> <p><strong>CAMERON SCOTT-BOHANNA </strong></p> <p>Thanks very much for joining us today guys and all the best.</p> <p><strong>MARK COULTON</strong></p> <p>Thanks, Cameron.</p> <p><strong>MICHAEL McCORMACK</strong></p> <p>Thanks, Cameron.</p> <p><strong>8:19AM</strong></p> Coulton Transcript - 2VM Radio Interview Thirteen Lives, based on the Thai caves rescue, to film in Australia https://minister.infrastructure.gov.au/fletcher/media-release/thirteen-lives-based-thai-caves-rescue-film-australia <p>The Morrison Government will provide $13 million to Imagine Entertainment and MGM to shoot the live-action feature film Thirteen Lives, about the incredible Thai caves rescue, in Queensland.</p> <p>The production, to be directed by legendary film-maker Ron Howard, will commence filming in March. The Gold Coast hinterland will double for Thailand.</p> <p>Minister for Communications, Cyber Safety and the Arts, the Hon Paul Fletcher MP, said the production is expected to inject more than $96 million into the economy, directly creating around 435 jobs for cast and crew, as well as an equivalent 3400 background extra days.</p> <p>“Thirteen Lives will tell the remarkable story of the effort by many volunteers, including Australians, to undertake an incredibly complex rescue. And I am proud to say that this story will be told here in Australia,” Minister Fletcher said.</p> <p>“In addition to recording this remarkable story for posterity, the production itself will create vital job opportunities and will engage the services of an estimated 300 Australian businesses.</p> <p>“I understand this project will also undertake a significant amount of cutting-edge visual effects work here, a great opportunity for our local post, digital and visual effects companies.”</p> <p>Directed by Academy Award-winner Ron Howard, and produced by Academy Award-winner Brian Grazer, P.J. van Sandwijk, Gabrielle Tana and Karen Lunder, Thirteen Lives follows the true story of the 2018 Tham Laung cave rescue of a boys’ soccer team, trapped in a cave by heavy rain and flooding. After the team was stuck for days with no supplies and falling oxygen levels, a group from all over the world came together to work with the people of Thailand to save the boys. Among those experts were a group of divers from the United Kingdom and Australia.  </p> <p>Ron Howard has thanked the Government for the support of the Location Incentive program and notes he is thrilled to be working in Australia.</p> <p>Mr Howard said, “Over the years, I’ve both enjoyed and creatively benefitted from collaborations with Australian artists and technicians in front of and behind the camera, from Cate Blanchett, Nicole Kidman, Russell Crowe and Chris Hemsworth to John Seale, Donald McAlpine and Andrew Rowlands and many others.”</p> <p>“From Thirteen Lives to the animated projected I am directing with Animal Logic in Australia, I am excited about the opportunity to film and work in Australia and dramatically expand on that list of collaborators whose sensibilities and work ethic I have long admired and respected.”</p> <p>MGM’s President of Physical Production, Michele Imperato said, “We thank the Federal Government and Minster Fletcher for their great support and for welcoming the Thirteen Lives production to Australia.”</p> <p>Thirteen Lives is supported under the Morrison Government’s $400 million boost to the Location Incentive to create a pipeline of international projects, which will generate tens of thousands of Australian jobs in the screen industry over the next seven years.</p> <p>You can view Ron Howard’s video welcoming the support of the Australian Government <a href="https://vimeo.com/483362735/52882967eb">here</a>.</p> <p>For more information on the Location Incentive Program please visit: <a href="http://www.arts.gov.au/what-we-do/screen/australian-screen-production-incentive">www.arts.gov.au/what-we-do/screen/australian-screen-production-incentive</a>.</p> <p>Imagine Entertainment and MGM’s Thirteen Lives will be distributed in Australia by Universal Pictures International.</p> <p><strong>Media contact: </strong>Imre Salusinszky | 0432 535 737 <a href="mailto:Imre.Salusinszky@communications.gov.au">Imre.Salusinszky@communications.gov.au</a></p> Fletcher Thirteen Lives, based on the Thai caves rescue, to film in Australia Inland Rail breaks ground on Narrabri to North Star https://minister.infrastructure.gov.au/coulton/media-release/inland-rail-breaks-ground-narrabri-north-star <p>Progress on the Australian Government Inland Rail project continues, with the second section of the 1,700 kilometre Melbourne to Brisbane freight line between Narrabri and North Star (N2NS) now under construction.</p> <p>The Deputy Prime Minister and Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Minister Michael McCormack and local member Mark Coulton were on site in Moree, New South Wales to turn the first sod of soil on the 171 kilometres of track upgrades.</p> <p>This stage of the Australian Government’s transformational Inland Rail project will support more than 500 direct jobs from the contractor, with many others to follow for sub-contractors and businesses in the regions. And it will deliver millions in economic stimulus to north western NSW.</p> <p>“It seems like just yesterday I turned the first sod on Inland Rail in Parkes and today we celebrate another momentous occasion with the commencement of the second section between Narrabri to North Star, an equally significant event,” Mr McCormack said.</p> <p>“This year we completed the first section of Inland Rail between Parkes and Narromine, which has enhanced the connectivity of the national network, joining the east-west Perth line to the north and south spine.</p> <p>“Today’s event in Moree marks real progress on the Inland Rail project which has been talked about since Federation.”</p> <p>Mr McCormack said regional Australians were benefiting now, when they need it most, from the record-breaking investment the Liberals and Nationals are making into infrastructure – including Inland Rail – right across the nation.</p> <p>“The $693.8 million construction effort on Narrabri and North Star brings immediate stimulus to the regional communities of Narrabri, Bellata, Moree, Croppa Creek and North Star and those townships in between,” Mr McCormack said.</p> <p>“In real terms, it means more money spent locally, more money spent with local, regional and Australian businesses at the same time as building an asset that will benefit our nation for generations.</p> <p>“As we build Inland Rail, we lay the track for supply chain efficiencies that will boost the national economy.”</p> <p>Finance Minister Simon Birmingham described Inland Rail as critical infrastructure that will deliver major benefits to the nation and help boost the Australian economy.</p> <p>“I welcome the construction of the second section of Inland Rail, which once complete, will deliver cost savings for freight customers including Australian farmers, small businesses and manufacturers, while also providing economic stimulus at a time when Australia needs it most,” Minister Birmingham said.</p> <p>“Inland Rail’s fast, reliable and cost-competitive freight will increase the safety and efficiency of the national freight network and ensure Australian businesses can remain globally competitive and deliver their products to markets in Australia and overseas with more ease.</p> <p>Local Member for Parkes and Minister for Regional Health, Regional Communications and Local Government, Mark Coulton said today’s milestone in Moree at the heart of the Narrabri to North Star section showed Inland Rail was on track for all the right reasons.</p> <p>“Inland Rail is one of the main reasons I got into politics, so today’s sod turn is a very proud moment for me, and a key achievement for the Australian Government,” Minister Coulton said.</p> <p>"It’s a project that will open up eastern Australia for business and allow farmers to get their products to domestic and international markets, which is welcome news for the councils in North West NSW that represent a region rich in agriculture.</p> <p>“Inland Rail is necessary to meet Australia’s growing freight transport task for the next 50 years, and all levels of government are working together to leverage the long-term benefits of Inland Rail to attract new businesses to regional Australia.</p> <p>“From the special activation precinct in Moree to Narrabri’s Inland Port, private businesses and industry are setting up shop because they can see the long-term growth Inland Rail is bringing to these regional communities.”</p> <p>Minister Coulton said he was pleased the community could engage with the contractor for N2NS, Trans4m Rail, at upcoming information sessions at North Star, Moree and Narrabri to learn more about regional employment and supply opportunities.</p> <p>The N2NS section of Inland Rail is being delivered through two distinct packages of work, with construction now underway on the initial upgrade to 171 kilometres of existing track.</p> <p>Further design work is progressing on the second package of N2NS construction which will see the preparation of an Environmental Impact Statement for the construction of new track between Moree and Camurra.</p> <p>For more details about the Trans4M Rail information sessions, visit <a href="https://inlandrail.artc.com.au/events/?_event_project=705">https://inlandrail.artc.com.au/events/?_event_project=705</a></p> <h2><strong>Media Contact:</strong></h2> <p>Deputy Prime Minister – Jo Williamson 0418 475 668 | Dean Shachar 0418 202 860</p> <p>Minister Birmingham – Benn Ayre 0428 342 325</p> <p>Minister Coulton – Anna Conn 0491 135 852</p> Coulton Inland Rail breaks ground on Narrabri to North Star Helping Australians return home https://minister.infrastructure.gov.au/mccormack/media-release/helping-australians-return-home <p class="BoswellMediaHeader">The Australian Government continues to work tirelessly to ensure we get as many Australians home by Christmas as possible.</p> <p class="BoswellMediaHeader">Almost 426,600 Australian citizens and Permanent Residents have travelled into Australia since the Government recommended that people reconsider the need to travel abroad on 13 March 2020.</p> <p class="BoswellMediaHeader">The process to help re-book passengers travelling to Sydney from San Francisco began last night with the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications working speedily with the airline to facilitate exactly that.</p> <p class="BoswellMediaHeader">This process was well under way by this morning and contrary to claims made by Labor today, had nothing to do with their Tweets. Because this plane did not take off or arrive, the caps allocated for that flight have rolled over so those passengers will be able quarantine without issue.</p> <p class="BoswellMediaHeader">What Australians expect as we navigate our nation’s response to this global pandemic is constructive engagement by all politicians – not opportunistic political point-scoring.</p> <p class="BoswellMediaHeader">Australians will rightfully be disappointed by the Labor Party’s willingness to exploit difficult circumstances being faced by Australians overseas – circumstances the Government has been working to assist with since the start of the pandemic earlier this year.</p> <p class="BoswellMediaHeader">At the request of State and Territory Governments, to help shore up the integrity of hotel-quarantine systems in those jurisdictions, the National Cabinet implemented flight caps earlier this year. That measure has been necessary and has played a substantial role in Australia’s successful response to the COVID-19 pandemic.</p> <p class="BoswellMediaHeader">At many meetings of the National Cabinet, the Australian Government has sought to safely increase those cap numbers to help get more Australians home and we continue to partner with all States and Territories to that end. Following Jane Halton’s review and recommendations on quarantine arrangements, the Commonwealth has established the Howard Springs facility to boost quarantine spaces and is looking to double its capacity.</p> <p class="BoswellMediaHeader">We will keep working to bring as many Australians home by Christmas as possible, building on the successful return of more than 400,000 Australians since March.</p> <h2 class="BoswellMediaHeader"><strong>Media Contact: </strong></h2> <p class="BoswellMediaHeader">Deputy Prime Minister – Jo Williamson 0418 475 668 | Dean Shachar 0418 202 860</p> McCormack Helping Australians return home $19 million boost for sports, events in Albury https://minister.infrastructure.gov.au/mccormack/media-release/19-million-boost-sports-events-albury <p>A new sporting era in Albury began today with the official opening of the redeveloped Lavington Sports Ground as one of the premier sporting venues in regional Australia.</p> <p>The development of a second playing arena, new amenities, a function room and a grandstand extension has put Albury in a strong position to attract nationally significant sporting events, with major benefits for Albury-Wodonga’s visitor economy.</p> <p>AlburyCity has thanked the Federal and State Governments for helping to make the $19.6M project a success, with the Commonwealth contributing $4.026M and the NSW Government providing $3.153M.</p> <p>AFL NSW/ACT also provided valuable support, contributing $250,000, while local user groups provided $50,000. AlburyCity funded the balance of more than $12M.</p> <p>AlburyCity Mayor Kevin Mack said the redeveloped venue would be the jewel in the city’s sporting crown.</p> <p>“The vision to create a hub for sports in Albury began in the 1970s when a group of volunteers worked together to transform the former seminary and turkey farm on the site into a place for local people to play sport and fifty years later, that vision has evolved into a sporting and events centre that will place our city at the forefront of regional sport for generations to come,” he said.</p> <p>Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Regional Development, Michael McCormack, said as the major sports facility between Canberra and Melbourne, the Lavington redevelopment will help the border host more carnivals and events, attracting more players and sports tourism opportunities to the region.</p> <p>“The construction of a new multi-purpose field will host Aussie Rules, cricket, soccer and rugby league; an investment which also saw upgrades and a fit out of the existing grandstand, including change rooms, coaches’ boxes, a commercial kitchen, medical rooms and media area,” he said.</p> <p>Federal Member for Farrer Sussan Ley said the Australian Government’s contribution to the development recognises Albury-Wodonga’s desire to remain regional Australia’s sporting capital.</p> <p>“Great sporting facilities are central to building and maintaining community engagement in physical activity, and with such a rich sporting history here already, this is a real investment into our future,” she said.</p> <p>Acting Minister for Sport Geoff Lee said investing in high quality sports facilities in regional NSW provided numerous benefits.</p> <p>“Improving the quality and quantity of sports infrastructure in regional areas is a NSW Government priority,” Mr Lee said.</p> <p>“This is evidenced by our new $100 million Greater Cities and Regional Sports Facility Fund announced in the 2020-21 NSW Budget.</p> <p>“By investing in new and existing sporting infrastructure we stimulate local economies, boost employment and promote healthy lifestyles.”</p> <p>Member for Albury Justin Clancy said the opening of the Lavington Sports Ground was a major signpost for border communities whose sporting activities had been severely impacted by COVID-19.</p> <p>“This expanded and improved facility promises great things for the border in terms of sport and potentially other business events,” Mr Clancy said.</p> <p>“I encourage everyone to come to Lavington Sports Ground and enjoy the great lifestyle and facilities we share here.”</p> <p>Full details on the redevelopment are<strong> </strong><a href="https://www.alburycity.nsw.gov.au/major-projects/lavington-sports-ground-redevelopment?utm_medium=email&amp;utm_campaign=New%20era%20in%20sport%20begins%20as%20LSG%20officially%20opens&amp;utm_content=New%20era%20in%20sport%20begins%20as%20LSG%20officially%20opens+Preview+CID_a6f0c12cb36b6f7ed873750004d42c07&amp;utm_source=Campaign%20Monitor&amp;utm_term=here">available here</a>.</p> McCormack $19 million boost for sports, events in Albury Keynote Speech to Regional Development Australia, Orana https://minister.infrastructure.gov.au/coulton/speech/keynote-speech-regional-development-australia-orana <p class="MsoList"><strong>*CHECK AGAINST DELIVERY*</strong></p> <p><strong>MARK COULTON:</strong></p> <p class="MsoBodyText">Thanks, Brad, and congratulations, it’s certainly been a good year to head an RDA – in the middle of a pandemic.</p> <p class="MsoBodyText">John, well done and congratulations. I’ll endorse your words – the relationship we’ve had has been a very direct, close one where we can actually discuss issues and come up with solutions and as someone who sometimes felt like I dropped out of Mars here 14 years ago into an area that I’m not familiar and someone whose as close to Dubbo royalty as you could get – the Walkom Brothers – I really appreciate the knowledge that you’ve been able to help me out with. So well done.</p> <p class="MsoBodyText">Ladies and gentlemen, thank you for having me here today. I want to start by saying that I’ve always had an incredible belief in regional Australia. It was my belief in regional Australia that made me turn my life upside down in 2007, stop what was going to be my life-long ambition to be involved in primary industry as a grain and beef cattle farmer, and throw my hat into the ring to be a Member of the Australian Parliament. Over the years I’ve been incredibly frustrated by the way regional Australia tends to be portrayed. I believe in a single generation we’ve gone from where city folks hope their daughters might marry someone from the bush to sending their second-hand clothes and tinned food out.</p> <p class="MsoBodyText">We’ve had some tough times. We’ve had a long drought; that’s had severe impact on our entire region. We had incredibly devastating fires over the years that I’ve been a member. In our region, the fire at Coonabarabran and the one at Dunedoo caused enormous devastation and in many cases, some of those families didn’t quite survive as, the devastation was so great.</p> <p class="MsoBodyText">If you want an indication of how resilient our area is, and the rural community is, you should have been with me in the past couple of weeks as I’ve been driving around my half of New South Wales. Main streets that were empty and languishing six months ago are now places where you have trouble finding a park. The activity just – it’s like a fog in the desert; it just sits there and when the rain comes up it comes and comes to life.</p> <p class="MsoBodyText">At the start of the year we had the fires and then we went straight into coronavirus and initially it was a very, very concerning time because a lot of our community would have been incredibly vulnerable to coronavirus because of lack of intensive care, distance we’d have to go for treatment, and a whole range of things. But the success story for the coronavirus pandemic is that there’s been no safer place in the world to be than in regional Australia. The few infections that we had in our area have been handled very, very well and largely escaped major impact. Obviously, hospitality, transport, the air services have had an impact, but largely life has gone on.</p> <p class="MsoBodyText">What we’re finding now is that regional Australia is now the place that people want to be. The meetings that are coming through my office now are about, “How can we get the school we need?” “I need motor mechanics in my business,” “I need medical professionals to work in my town or my hospital,” “We need,   people with professions,” “I need plant operators who know what they’re doing,” and unemployment, even with the pandemic, where we sit now would be the lowest anywhere in Australia.</p> <p class="MsoBodyText">One of the battles we have is talking about the potential and the positive when the national dialogue, if you like, is still very city-focused. Capital cities have really copped a pasting. In my role as Regional Communications, Regional Health and Local Government Minister, it’s put me in a position where we can adjust policy settings to make sure that regional Australia can meet its absolute potential.</p> <p class="MsoBodyText">In communications, we’ve had the Mobile Black Spot Program where we funded about 1,200 towers over the first four and a half years, but we’ve got to a point now where the telcos have indicated that this model, even with the government subsidy, is not doing the job. They’d be quite happy, many of them, to just build on the networks they’ve got. But there’s still 100,000 Australians who don’t have adequate mobile coverage, so we are adapting. Just last week, we announced Round 5A, which will focus on transport routes, it will focus on the hardening up disaster-prone areas, but what I’m excited about is it’s going to fund innovative models where we can see partnerships with telecommunications companies, with local councils, with local communities, where we can look at different ways of delivering not only voice services but high-speed broadband.</p> <p class="MsoBodyText">What we’ve seen in the pandemic is that you can work in regional Australia. The satellite service, cops a caning but I worked for 10 weeks in Warialda on a satellite service – all my phone calls, all my Zoom meetings, all my emails, everything that would be required to be a Minister in the Australian Government came through the NBN Sky Muster satellite service.</p> <p class="MsoBodyText">It’s not the same as if you’ve got a direct connection in the middle of town, but it is a service that enables businesses that we’ve seen flourish. Buy from the Bush, the great success story of the drought, and the innovative business people in our part of the world that led it, absolutely turned a negative into a positive. Communications is so important. The NBN, 99 per cent rolled out but now what we’re seeing in places like Dubbo is the opportunity to have a service equivalent to metropolitan Australia at the same price. We had a forum the other morning, Matt Wright from the chamber of commerce, and there was a lot of interest in businesses now being able to have that higher level of connection.</p> <p class="MsoBodyText">We’ve got a Regional Connectivity Program with $83 million in it where we are looking at innovative methods of delivering communications. There are things coming over the horizon – probably not worth talking about it now because they are over the horizon – but satellites, stationary balloons, there’s lots of ways we can deliver telecommunications in the bush that we will be investigating.</p> <p class="MsoBodyText">With Rural Health, understanding that the more we train people in regional areas the more likely they are to stay and practice in regional areas. That’s why we’ve got the Murray Darling Medical Schools Network. Next year we’ll have students enrolling in a full degree at Orange, the year after that here in Dubbo and Wagga. So, you can live in Dubbo or surrounding areas and you can do your full degree and your specialty and not leave your family.</p> <p class="MsoBodyText">One of the issues with training the rural workforce is that it takes a long time, and other issues get in the way of your training. Gone are the days where the GP comes to the town as a young graduate, puts their shingle up and stays for 40 years. That’s just not happening. When that person retires it takes two or three junior people to come through.</p> <p class="MsoBodyText">We also recognise that you need a broader range of skills. So we’re funding the Rural Generalist Pathway – GPs with a broader range of skills, GPs with obstetric skills, GPs with mental health skills, GPs with emergency skills, so the next generation of medical professionals have the broad skillset they need to service country communities.</p> <p class="MsoBodyText">We’re also setting up some trials where we’re funding innovative models of collaborative care. In this region a great example is the four Ts – Trangie, Tullamore, Tottenham and Trundle – where we’re forming a network of not only GPs but allied health workers and nurses to service those communities where we’re providing an employment model where people will see it’s actually to their career advantage to come and work in an area where they are supported by a more senior team.</p> <p class="MsoBodyText">So, there is a lot happening. That’s not to say there isn’t a problem with workforce shortages, we’re dealing with those as well, but we’ve also got long-term strategies and policies in place to meet long-term goals.</p> <p class="MsoBodyText">There’s been a bit of a campaign that telehealth has been seen as a negative, which is far from the truth. Telehealth will never replace having the need for people to service communities. But telehealth is a remarkable asset. New South Wales Health Minister, Brad Hazzard, and I announced a Telestroke trial a couple of weeks ago, which means if you present at Dubbo Hospital with a stroke your scans are instantly connected to the leading stroke experts in Australia. So, you can get that advice that may save your life but also may save your from long-term effects because of the immediate response.</p> <p class="MsoBodyText">We’ve got some challenges. The Coronavirus pandemic has certainly provided challenges. We were filling in gaps in our workforce and our skills by bringing people from overseas. Dubbo and our surrounding regions have a very vibrant and strong multicultural community. But that pipeline has been interrupted so we need to do more to make sure that everyone in our own areas can reach full potential. That’s why we’ve funded the apprenticeship program to subsidise businesses and local councils to employ local apprentices so local people can get a start and in their local area. It doesn’t matter that they might not stay with that particular employee long-term because those skills will stay within the community.</p> <p class="MsoBodyText">The Government believes we cannot tax our country back into prosperity. What we’re doing is tax reform, tax cuts, people keep more of the money. The asset write off, the now-unlimited Instant Asset Write off, which is an enormous boost right across the region with small equipment, farm machinery, utilities, a whole range of people spending to enhance the productivity of their business but knowing that there’ll be a tax incentive.</p> <p class="MsoBodyText">One of the things that I am personally very proud of is changing the criteria around grain storage and hay storage as part of our strategy. So, there is no upper limit on what you can claim off tax in one year for developing a grain complex. So right across my electorate, anyone that’s building silos, grain sheds, concreters, earth moving contractors, sparkies, have absolutely been flat bickie for the past six months getting ready for the harvest that we’re now pulling off. As I drive around there are mountains of wheat not only at the depots but in paddocks right across. So, people are getting higher yields and over the year that will flow through.</p> <p class="MsoBodyText">So, we do have a challenge. That is for us to reach our full potential. We have got to attract people to come here who understand that we’re not busted, we’re not dangerous, and we don’t have a climate that’s terrible. We have got to stop talking down our regions.</p> <p class="MsoBodyText">As I look around, I can see people who have a great belief in what we’re doing. I’ve been working with Jenny for 13 years on the opal centre. I see Ross Earl is up the back there who put his heart and soul into growing progress around Bourke. I look around and see there’s people here that believe in this community. But we’ve got to do more.</p> <p class="MsoBodyText">We’ve got to transition that pleasant experience that people are having now by visiting the region because they can’t travel overseas. We’ve got to transition that into something more permanent and worthwhile. I think that’s the challenge that we have.</p> <p class="MsoBodyText">So, ladies and gentlemen, I know I’m preaching to the choir here. You wouldn’t be here if you didn’t have that same belief in the future that I have. Thank you for being here. Congratulations to the RDA, Megan, Brad, and your board. You play a vital role not only as a driver and a catalyst for things to happen in the region; you’re a valuable connection back to the government. Federal governments aren’t very good at connecting to local communities. That’s why we go to local councils, that’s why we have RDAs. That’s why we need to be more flexible in the delivery of government programs to understand the strengths and weaknesses of the community today. So well done for today. Congratulations to the RDA and thank you for having me.</p> <h2 class="MsoBodyText"><strong>Media contact: </strong></h2> <p class="MsoBodyText">Mr Coulton – Steph Nicholls 0417 314 920</p> Coulton Keynote Speech to Regional Development Australia, Orana Media reform Green Paper https://minister.infrastructure.gov.au/fletcher/media-release/media-reform-green-paper <p>The Australian Government has today released a Green Paper setting out proposed reforms to support the media industry and enhance the range and quality of services and content available to all Australians.</p> <p>The Green Paper highlights that the business model of Australia’s free-to-air television businesses is under severe strain – and that this in turn raises public policy issues.</p> <p>Minister for Communications, Cyber Safety and the Arts, the Hon Paul Fletcher MP, said the proposed changes are designed to support the future of Australia’s media and production sectors.</p> <p>The Government is seeking views on a number of proposed measures outlined in its Media Reform Green Paper, which include:</p> <ul> <li>Offering commercial broadcasters the choice to operate under a new kind of commercial television broadcasting licence, with a reduced regulatory burden provided they agree to move at a future point to using less radiofrequency spectrum;</li> <li>Promoting the public interest by using proceeds from freed-up spectrum to invest in Australian news and screen content;</li> <li>Introducing an Australian content spend obligation on video-on-demand services; and</li> <li>Formalising the role of national broadcasters as key providers of Australian content.</li> </ul> <p>The Paper is also an opportunity for industry stakeholders to bring forward their own views and proposals on how they think the regulatory framework should be designed for the contemporary media market.</p> <p>“The media landscape has changed significantly over the past decade, with faster internet allowing digital technologies to generate significant benefits for industry and consumers. However, these technologies have also fractured business models and rendered many of our regulatory structures obsolete,” Minister Fletcher said.</p> <p>“With declining revenues, rising costs and an outdated regulatory framework, the capacity of Australia’s media sector to provide Australian programming, local content and public interest journalism is being challenged. These structural pressures have been accelerated by the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, reinforcing the need for regulatory action.”</p> <p>These proposed reforms are in addition to those <a href="https://minister.infrastructure.gov.au/fletcher/media-release/new-funding-budget-deliver-australian-screen-content-0">announced as part of the 2020-21 Federal Budget</a> to simplify regulations and inject $53 million into the development and production of local film and television content.</p> <p>“What we are proposing would rebalance Australia’s media regulations so that the industry can continue to support jobs, connect communities, and keep Australian stories on our screens regardless of whether they prefer to watch free-to-air television, subscription television or video-on-demand services,” Minister Fletcher said.</p> <p>The Government is seeking public submissions on the Green Paper by 7 March 2021.</p> <p>To view the Green Paper, and for more information on these proposed changes and how to provide feedback, go to the <a href="https://www.communications.gov.au/have-your-say/new-rules-new-media-landscape-modernising-television-regulation-australia">Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications website</a>.</p> <p><strong>Media contact:</strong></p> <p>Imre Salusinszky | 0432 535 737 | <a href="mailto:Imre.Salusinszky@communications.gov.au">Imre.Salusinszky@communications.gov.au</a></p> Fletcher Media reform Green Paper Governments partnering to deliver additional upgrades to Dampier Peninsula roads https://minister.infrastructure.gov.au/mccormack/media-release/governments-partnering-deliver-additional-upgrades-dampier-peninsula-roads <p>The Australian and Western Australian Governments are keen to continue the success of the Broome Cape Leveque Project, with additional funding now allocated to continue upgrades to access roads.</p> <p>An additional $15 million has been allocated to reconstruct the first 13.6 kilometres of the old narrow seal on the Broome Cape Leveque Road and to upgrade the intersection at Broome Highway.</p> <p>Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Michael McCormack said the project was part of the Australian Government's commitment to regional Western Australia.</p> <p>"The Australian Government will always back our regions which is why we have worked to fund another two projects along the Dampier Peninsula, creating even more employment and training opportunities," the Deputy Prime Minister said.</p> <p>"The Federal Government is committed to ensuring the West receives its fair share of our record $110 billion nationwide infrastructure investment, which is laying the foundations for economic recovery following the pandemic."</p> <p>Western Australian Minister for Transport Rita Saffioti said she was proud the McGowan Government could continue delivering these works with local Aboriginal employment.</p> <p>"The work undertaken on Broome Cape Leveque Road provided many fantastic employment and training opportunities for local people," Ms Saffioti said.</p> <p>"I'm pleased we have been able to provide additional funding to provide continuity of work for these workers."</p> <p>Federal Member for Durack Melissa Price said additional upgrades would mean even more tourism opportunities for the Dampier Peninsula.</p> <p>"Broome is a tourism drawcard and more and more tourists are being drawn to the Dampier Peninsula," Ms Price said.</p> <p>"These upgrades will make it safer for tourists and create more opportunities for our local communities."</p> <p>State Member for the Kimberley region Josie Farrer said she was proud to belong to a State Government committed to delivering outcomes for Aboriginal people.</p> <p>"The opportunities that have been available for the local community to be part of Main Roads work in the Kimberley are impressive and will continue on other projects in the future," Ms Farrer said.</p> <p>"I'm pleased we have been able to contribute additional funds for more of these important projects."</p> <p>Funding has also recently been allocated to sealing the Kooljaman Resort Access Road at Cape Leveque and Ardyaloon Hatchery Access Road at Ardyaloon, with the $5 million project commencing in the middle of next year.</p> <p>The Kooljaman Access Road provides a link to one of the Kimberley's most iconic areas, on Bardi Jawi country; this unique landscape boasts pristine beaches with rich red cliffs running alongside.</p> <p>Access to the area is often restricted for locals and visitors due to rainfall, rutting and soft pindan.</p> <p>Situated at the tip of the Peninsula, the Ardyaloon Hatchery Access Road links to the equally significant Ardyaloon Hatchery, which was established in 1988 as a research station for the trochus niloticus fishery.</p> <p>Since then, the hatchery is successfully restocking juvenile trochus and has become popular with tourists, with almost 20,000 people visiting annually.</p> <p>Much like Kooljaman, access to Ardyaloon is often restricted, affecting the local people and visitors to the area, making these upgrades important to the community.</p> <p>The upgrades will make both roads suitable for two-wheel-drive vehicles, improving the visitor experience to the Dampier Peninsula.</p> <p>The $20 million Broome-Cape Leveque Road Upgrading and Community Access Roads project is jointly funded by the Australian Government committing $16 million and the Western Australian Government $4 million. The upgrades are expected to be completed by the end of next year.</p> McCormack Governments partnering to deliver additional upgrades to Dampier Peninsula roads Wells Crossing to Glenugie Pacific Highway lanes open https://minister.infrastructure.gov.au/mccormack/media-release/wells-crossing-glenugie-pacific-highway-lanes-open <p>Today, the Pacific Highway upgrade is taking an eight-kilometre leap forward with new northbound lanes due to open to traffic between Wells Crossing and Glenugie this afternoon.</p> <p>Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Michael McCormack said this was the latest stretch between Woolgoolga and Ballina to open to traffic before the country's biggest ever regional road project crosses the finish line next month, weather permitting.</p> <p>"The $15 billion Pacific Highway upgrade program started more than 20 years ago to make journeys safer between Hexham and the Queensland border," the Deputy Prime Minister said.</p> <p>"Since then, the number of fatal crashes on the highway has more than halved, down from more than 40 per year prior to the upgrade starting to less than 20 in recent years.</p> <p>"Of course, any death on our roads is one too many and this is why the Australian Government is investing $110 billion on infrastructure over the next decade to get Australians home sooner and safer while laying the foundations for economic recovery from the pandemic."</p> <p>New South Wales Minister for Regional Transport and Roads Paul Toole said it was exciting to see the Woolgoolga to Ballina section, the final link in the Pacific Highway upgrade, hit the home stretch.</p> <p>"This section of the upgrade alone has been an important economic and employment driver for northern NSW, supporting around 3,000 jobs at its peak and injecting millions into local communities," Mr Toole said.</p> <p>"Many locals, tourists and freight operators are already raving about how much safer and quicker journeys are along the Pacific Highway, so to be nearing the end of this multi-generational project is going to be a huge win for so many people."</p> <p>Assistant Minister to the Deputy Prime Minister and Federal Member for Page Kevin Hogan said the upgrade is already transforming journeys right up and down the coast.</p> <p>"I couldn't be more excited that we'll see the full duplication of the highway completed by Christmas," Mr Hogan said.</p> <p>"The section between Wells Crossing and Glenugie opening to traffic is another welcome milestone for the project."</p> <p>State Member for Clarence Chris Gulaptis said this project would change communities all along the north coast of NSW for the better.</p> <p>"Journeys on the Pacific Highway are already becoming safer each and every day and I can't wait to see the duplication works complete in a matter of weeks - with the entire length of the highway transformed into a four-lane dual carriageway," Mr Gulaptis said.</p> <p>"It's been a long time coming, but I know the wait will be worth it. This part of the upgrade includes safer access for local residents who currently access their properties from the existing Pacific Highway and I thank them for their cooperation while we’ve carried out work."</p> <p>This latest opening will mean temporarily closing the part of the existing Pacific Highway to traffic while finishing work is carried out.</p> <p>Following the opening of the new northbound lanes, the Old Pacific Highway will be temporarily closed for up to 72 hours between the new Parker Road access and the northern connection to the Pacific Highway. This is to allow construction works to be completed to reinstate the Old Pacific Highway to two-way traffic.</p> <p>For the latest traffic updates download the Live Traffic NSW App, visit the <a href="https://www.livetraffic.com/">Live Traffic NSW</a> website or call 132 701.</p> <p>The Australian Government has committed $4.03 billion with the New South Wales Government providing the remaining funding towards the project.</p> <p>W2B sections opened in 2020 so far:</p> <ul> <li>Tyndale to Maclean - March (12 kilometres)</li> <li>Glenugie to Tyndale - May (36 kilometres)</li> <li>Mororo to Devils Pulpit - August (15 kilometres)</li> <li>Woodburn to Pimlico - September (34 kilometres)</li> <li>Maclean to Mororo - September (nine kilometres)</li> </ul> McCormack Wells Crossing to Glenugie Pacific Highway lanes open The Kennedy Community Centre https://minister.infrastructure.gov.au/mccormack/media-release/kennedy-community-centre <p class="BoswellMediaHeader">The Morrison-McCormack Government is providing $15 million towards the Hawthorn Football Club’s new state-of-the-art Kennedy Community Centre (KCC), which is designed to improve facilities for the local community and women’s sport in Melbourne’s south east.</p> <p class="BoswellMediaHeader">The KCC is named after John Kennedy Sr. who played for the Hawthorn Football Club and coached the team to premierships in 1961, 1971 and 1976.  </p> <p class="BoswellMediaHeader">Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Michael McCormack said the Government was proud to be supporting a project which was committed to benefiting the entire community, not just the elite players.</p> <p class="BoswellMediaHeader">“I know how important it is to have an inclusive, accessible centre that caters for all levels of athletes, including teams in the AFL, AFLW and VFLW,” the Deputy Prime Minister said.</p> <p class="BoswellMediaHeader">“This is why the Australian Government has unlocked the funding to help create a facility with a community pavilion and oval built to AFLW specifications, as well as flexible education and learning spaces.</p> <p class="BoswellMediaHeader">“The KCC will be the home of women’s football in the south east, delivering an oval and pavilion which will not only be the headquarters for Hawthorn’s AFLW team but also be a space for local female football in the area.</p> <p class="BoswellMediaHeader">“It is being developed with a focus on the key community pillars, which include ensuring greater opportunities for integration, inclusion and diversity.</p> <p class="BoswellMediaHeader">“Like any Australian I love my sport, so I am proud this Government is providing a centre for girls and women to develop and grow from playing grassroots football all the way to the elite program of AFLW.”</p> <p class="BoswellMediaHeader">Treasurer and Federal Member for Kooyong Josh Frydenberg said the development of the KCC would bring a range of benefits to the community.</p> <p class="BoswellMediaHeader">“Not only will the KCC provide greater opportunities for children and adults to participate in local sport, it is delivering significant economic benefits to the local community,” the Treasurer said.</p> <p class="BoswellMediaHeader">“The club expects the KCC project will contribute $28 million to the Victorian economy and create jobs during the peak of construction, which is crucial as we recover from the pandemic.</p> <p class="BoswellMediaHeader">“The project is being delivered to embody collaboration, community, inclusiveness and giving back.</p> <p class="BoswellMediaHeader">“It will provide sustainable benefits for the local community for years to come.”</p> <p class="BoswellMediaHeader">Preliminary construction on the KCC in the south-eastern Melbourne suburb of Dingley Village is expected to start in 2021.</p> <p class="BoswellMediaHeader">The Morrison Government’s contribution will be funded from the Community Development Grants Programme.</p> <h2 class="BoswellMediaHeader"><strong>Media Contact:</strong></h2> <p class="BoswellMediaHeader">Deputy Prime Minister – Jo Williamson 0418 475 668 | Dean Shachar 0418 202 860</p> <p>Treasurer’s office – Liana Fisher 0402 542 779</p> McCormack The Kennedy Community Centre Inland Rail partnership to leave water legacy https://minister.infrastructure.gov.au/coulton/media-release/inland-rail-partnership-leave-water-legacy <p>Inland Rail will deliver enduring water benefits in Gilgandra with an agreement signed today that will see the Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC) fund four additional bores across the Shire.</p> <p>Local Member for Parkes and Minister for Regional Health, Regional Communications and Local Government Mark Coulton welcomed the agreement that will identify a water source for Inland Rail construction while leaving a legacy for locals along the route.</p> <p>“I’m so pleased to see this project going ahead, having worked closely with Gilgandra Shire Council to ensure the community’s needs are met,” Mr Coulton said.</p> <p>“As Inland Rail completes the national freight network, it will introduce new markets for growers, producers and manufacturers right across the region – it will also leave legacy water infrastructure to serve the community.</p> <p>“Once construction of Inland Rail from Narromine to Narrabri is complete, the bores that the ARTC is establishing in the Gilgandra area will be handed to the Gilgandra Shire Council.</p> <p>“This will provide the community with improved water supply for facilities and offer a reliable source of water for roadworks, as well as firefighting and other emergency service needs.”</p> <p>Narromine to Narrabri Inland Rail Project Director Duncan Mitchell said ARTC appreciates how precious water is in regional areas.</p> <p>“Inland Rail already applies a range of sustainable construction practices including using biodegradable polymers in dust management to minimise the amount of water required for construction,” Mr Mitchell said.</p> <p>“We envisage that this project will increase the water security of the region and further minimise the impact of construction on local water supplies, in response to community feedback.</p> <p>“The bores will be monitored to manage any effect on neighbouring bores – this project is an example of how Inland Rail is being designed and delivered with the immediate and long-term betterment of communities in mind.”</p> <p>Acting Mayor of Gilgandra Shire Council Ash Walker said Council has been an advocate for undertaking water investigations early in the construction process to improve outcomes for community stakeholders.</p> <p>“Finding secure water sources that don’t compete with existing stock and domestic bores has been a recurrent request from landholders,” Cr Walker said.</p> <p>“This project enables Council to be part of achieving this outcome whilst leaving deep bore infrastructure and reliable water sources as a legacy to our community once construction is complete.</p> <p>“It is Council’s intention that by having an active involvement in this process, we can play a leading role in communicating the findings to the community and provide opportunities for the community to learn more about the deeper aquifers in our region.</p> <p>“This water infrastructure will be a positive legacy for our community for generations.”</p> <p>The arrangement provides for four bores to be sunk into the Pilliga Sandstone and Purlewaugh Sandstone aquifers to a depth between 200 and 280 metres.</p> <p>The Gilgandra Shire Council will shortly appoint a project manager, to be funded by ARTC, who will lead further planning and development of the bores.</p> <p>For more information on Inland Rail from Narromine to Narrabri, including details on upcoming community information sessions planned in coming weeks, visit <a href="https://inlandrail.artc.com.au/">https://inlandrail.artc.com.au/</a></p> Coulton Inland Rail partnership to leave water legacy $65 million Broome Cape Leveque Road sealing project now complete https://minister.infrastructure.gov.au/mccormack/media-release/65-million-broome-cape-leveque-road-sealing-project-now-complete <p>The more than $65 million Broome Cape Leveque Road project in Western Australia's Kimberley region is now complete and has been a great success with almost 200 Aboriginal people employed across the construction life of the project.</p> <p>The project has seen unprecedented participation rates of Aboriginal employment, with 54 per cent of all hours worked on the project delivered by Aboriginal people. Of those hours, 85 per cent were completed by local people from Broome and the Dampier Peninsula.</p> <p>A staged construction program is effective in delivering economic and social benefits, while achieving genuine increased capacity within Aboriginal communities and businesses in the Kimberley region.</p> <p>Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Michael McCormack said the project was part of the Australian Government's commitment to regional Western Australia.</p> <p>"We have worked to fund another two projects along the Dampier Peninsula, which will create more employment and training opportunities," the Deputy Prime Minister said.</p> <p>"The Australian Government is committed to creating opportunities and delivering for regional Western Australia."</p> <p>Western Australian Minister for Transport Rita Saffioti said the McGowan Government was focused on providing tangible employment outcomes on all transport infrastructure projects.</p> <p>"I am so proud of the local employment and training opportunities this project has delivered for local Aboriginal people in the Kimberley," Ms Saffioti said.</p> <p>"Not only has this provided opportunities for local workers and businesses, but the sealing of this last 90 kilometres of road will provide many economic, tourism and social benefits for years to come.</p> <p>"I look forward to seeing workers return to site in April to get started on the next elements of this project."</p> <p>Federal Member for Durack Melissa Price said it has been a pleasure to watch works on this project unfold.</p> <p>"I fought hard to get the substantial $52 million of Federal Government funding for this project because it will be a boon for tourism and it is important that local communities have an all-weather, all year access road," Ms Price said.</p> <p>"It's been fantastic to be a part of a project providing employment and training opportunities for local people who live along the Dampier Peninsula and the broader Kimberley region.</p> <p>"The Broome Cape Leveque Road project is a great example of a collaborative approach between Australian and State Governments and a number of government agencies, working together to achieve positive outcomes for local communities.</p> <p>"Communities will benefit from having a skilled and accessible workforce on-hand that understands the unique challenges of the Kimberley region."</p> <p>State Member for the Kimberley Josie Farrer said she was proud to belong to a State Government committed to delivering outcomes for Aboriginal people.</p> <p>"The on-the-job training programs have created a local workforce equipped with the skills, knowledge and experience to undertake road construction and maintenance activities long into the future," Ms Farrer said.</p> <p>"The opportunities that have been available for the local community to be part of Main Roads' work in the Kimberley are impressive and will continue on other projects in the future."</p> <p>Partnerships were also established with two local Aboriginal employment and training organisations - Kullarri Regional Communities Indigenous Corporation and Nirrumbuk - to build and enhance a local skilled workforce.</p> <p>These organisations actively trained people from Broome and the Dampier Peninsula in preparation for the project, providing labourers and traffic controllers. Plant equipment operators were also provided by these organisations to plant equipment sub-contractors.</p> <p>The project has seen the last 90 kilometres of red dirt on the Broome Cape Leveque Road sealed. It will improve safety and access for local communities, by providing all weather access to the Dampier Peninsula while also creating economic, social and tourism benefits. </p> <p>With Broome Cape Leveque Road fully sealed, the road crews will now take a well-earned break over the wet season, returning to work in April to reconstruct the old narrow seal in the first 13.6 kilometres of the road and make upgrades to the intersection at Broome Highway.</p> <p>Funding has also recently been allocated to sealing the Kooljaman Resort Access Road at Cape Leveque and Trochus Hatchery Access Road at Ardyaloon, with the project commencing in the middle of next year. This additional $20 million of works were recently funded by the Australian ($15 million) and Western Australian ($5 million) Governments. </p> <p>The Broome Cape Leveque Road project was jointly funded by the Australian Government contributing $52.53 million and the Western Australian Government contributing $13.13 million.</p> McCormack $65 million Broome Cape Leveque Road sealing project now complete Transcript - Presser Testers Hollow, Cessnock https://minister.infrastructure.gov.au/mccormack/interview/transcript-presser-testers-hollow-cessnock <p class="CxSpFirst"><strong>BOB PYNSENT </strong></p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">Well good morning everyone and welcome to the Cessnock Local Government Area, specifically to the Deputy Prime Minister, Senator Perin, Minister Toole and Michael Johnsen and, importantly, my fellow Mayor, Loretta Baker from Maitland, just across the water. It’s certainly a great occasion. We’ve had a number of instances over time of flooding here, and this work certainly helps the residents and the growing number of residents in both the Cessnock and Maitland LGAs with accessibility. So thank you very much for the funding, both the State and Federal Government, and we look forward to the completion.</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle"><strong>LORETTA BAKER </strong></p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">Bob’s acknowledged everyone, but I would like to acknowledge all our dignitaries here this morning. Thank you so much for coming here to the Hunter Valley. Maitland people will be over the moon to see this upgrade go ahead. Testers Hollow has always been a tricky spot for us and people isolated during minimal rain normally, doesn’t even take a big flood. So we’re really happy to see this go ahead and very, very grateful for the funding. Along with Bob, very happy to be here and happy to see it starting, and thank you.</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle"><strong>MICHAEL McCORMACK</strong></p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">Well, the finest projects draw the finest crowds. Of course, we’ve got the Mayors of Cessnock and Maitland and I really warmly welcome the Federal Senator for New South Wales, Perin Davey, who spends so much of her time getting out and not only looking at these sorts of projects across the state of New South Wales but delivering. And it’s great to be here, too, with the Minister for Regional Roads and Transport, Paul Toole, and Michael Johnsen, no stranger to most, the Member for Upper Hunter. And this is what the Nationals do in Government – we deliver. We build roads. We build the sort of infrastructure that country communities expect, want, need and most importantly, deserve.</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">Now this project on Cessnock Road, Testers Hollow, is going to make such a difference for the thousands of commuters who use this road each and every day. Michael Johnsen was telling me back when we had the super storm hit New South Wales in April 2015, the road was shut for more than a week. Well, we can’t have the economies of the Hunter and Maitland and Cessnock held up by more than a week. We can’t have traffic stopped and having to be diverted elsewhere.</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">And that’s why we’re increasing this road by one and a half metres. It’s a $17 million project, $15 million of which is coming from the Federal Government and a couple of million dollars from the State Government. But it’s State and Federal Governments working in collaboration. State and Federal Coalition Governments working cooperatively to build the sort of infrastructure that country communities need. And this is going to make such a difference for this area.</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">We’ve talked about it for a long time. We’re getting on with it and we’re delivering it. And work has already started, as you can see, it started last month. Weather permitting, it will be completed in 2022. Importantly, 50 jobs, Daracon, a Hunter company, making sure that they do the project with many local people, local procurement, local small businesses feeding into this project. And Paul Toole and I are working right across regional New South Wales in particular, building roads, building infrastructure and making sure that country communities get the sort of infrastructure that they need. With that, I’ll ask Paul Toole to make some comments.</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle"><strong>PAUL TOOLE</strong></p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">Thank you, Deputy Prime Minister. And once again it’s great to be here with the Deputy Prime Minister. And here is an example of another project, another investment across regional New South Wales. And this is about creating jobs. Michael and I have been working very closely about bringing projects forward because we know they’re important to our communities. It’s about reducing congestion, but it’s also about connecting communities, and that’s exactly what today’s announcement is here at Testers Hollow.</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">I also acknowledge the Mayors of Maitland and Cessnock that are here as well. I thank them for the work that they do on behalf of the community here when it comes to better roads for their communities. To the Senator Perin Davey and also the Member for Upper Hunter, Michael Johnsen, this project is a partnership. It’s a partnership between the Federal Government and the State Government. We are seeing $17 million being delivered for this project. We are going to see the road being lifted by another one and a half metres and when you see about 16,000 vehicles that use this section of road every day, you know it’s important.</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">So when we’ve seen those floods in the past, when we’ve seen the road cut off, it’s actually adding an additional 20 minutes to the trip of locals here in this area. And it shuts communities off. People can’t get to work. People can’t get to childcare. People can’t go and do those normal activities that they would do each and every day.</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">So this investment’s going to see about 630 metres of the road being lifted. But importantly, it will be able to deal with those flood situations that we will potentially see as in the past. We haven’t had much rainfall here on this section of road where we’ve seen it being cut off in the past. So this project, it will be finished by the end of 2022, but, again, it’s another great investment and another great partnership with the Federal Government on our roads across the state.</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle"><strong>PERIN DAVEY</strong></p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">Thank you, I’ll just say a few brief words, because it’s great to be back in this part of the world. Cessnock and Maitland are both growing regional towns and if there’s anything the Nationals really believe in, it’s regional development and it’s seeing our regional communities grow and thrive. And so by dealing with the flood mitigation on this section of road, by making it an easier and more attractive place to live, we’re going to encourage further investment in these communities, which is good for the region, it’s good for New South Wales, it’s good for Australia. So I thank both Mayors for all of their work and their commitment to making Cessnock and Maitland great places. They are growing, fantastically growing and thriving communities and we want to see more of that. And so our Government is committed to funding projects like this road so that we make our regions easier places to live, more attractive places to invest. Thank you.</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle"><strong>MICHAEL JOHNSEN</strong></p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">Thank you. Can I welcome the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister Toole and also our Mayors of Maitland and Cessnock. And I know our Mayors have been great advocates for this piece of work being done here at Testers Hollow. I’m no stranger to this particular area and I remember very well the last time that it was cut off for around 10 days during the – or just after the big super storm of April 2015. It was a terrible time at that point in time and communities were isolated. And as the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister have said, there is no reason why that should ever happen again. The Nationals in Government at State and Federal level are working with our local government colleagues, are making sure that we deliver for our communities and we are making sure that this particular section of road is a critical upgraded part of our regional road network, which, again, connects communities and won’t provide that level of isolation that is unwarranted for what is such a great growing area here in the Maitland Cessnock area. Thank you.</p> <h2 class="CxSpFirst"><strong>Media contacts: </strong></h2> <p>Jo Williamson, 0418 475 668<br /> Dean Shachar, 0418 202 860</p> McCormack Transcript - Presser Testers Hollow, Cessnock ROSI funding wish list - consultations for next northern corridor priorities https://minister.infrastructure.gov.au/mccormack/media-release/rosi-funding-wish-list-consultations-next-northern-corridor-priorities <p>The next priorities along Queensland’s northern Roads of Strategic Importance (ROSI) initiative corridors are a step closer to delivery, with consultations held with industry and stakeholders in Townsville today.</p> <p>Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Michael McCormack said it was a productive meeting and provided a great opportunity for local representatives to be involved to put their ideas forward for funding consideration. </p> <p>“These local representatives know the people and industries who regularly drive on along these corridors and feeder roads, so who better than to ask what are the next priorities for upgrades,” the Deputy Prime Minister said. </p> <p>“The Australian Government has committed $1.07 billion towards the ROSI initiative in Queensland to ensure our key freight roads efficiently connect agricultural and mining regions to ports, airports and other transport hub and communities to services.</p> <p>“Today’s discussions highlighted that there was a lot of work to be done to ensure that our regional and remote communities, as well as our industries, are supported and can continue to grow.” </p> <p>Assistant Minister for Road Safety and Freight Transport Scott Buchholz said the Government wants to make sure that the next projects to be delivered will address some of the items raised at today’s meeting.</p> <p>“In collaboration with the Queensland Government, we are here listening to what the next priorities for the North are so we can improve the connectivity across regional and remote communities in North Queensland to support industry and economic growth,” Assistant Minister Buchholz said. </p> <p>“While we are already getting on with the job on delivering and have approved a number of early works projects, there is still funding to be allocated.</p> <p>“Earlier this year, works commenced on the Kennedy Developmental Road (The Lynd to Hughenden), with $40 million investment from the Australian Government.</p> <p>“On the Townsville to Roma Corridor, works are expected to commence next month on the Carnarvon Highway and Salmon Road Intersection, with $3.85 million in funding from the Australian Government,” Mr Buchholz said.</p> <p>Projects being delivered include road sealing, flood immunity, strengthening and widening, pavement rehabilitation, bridge and culvert upgrades and road realignments.</p> <p>Northern ROSI Corridors in Queensland include: </p> <ul> <li>Townsville to Roma Corridor - $100 million Australian Government</li> <li>Mount Isa to Rockhampton Corridor - $190 million Australian Government</li> <li>Cairns to Northern Territory Corridor - $50 million Australian Government</li> <li>Tennant Creek to Townsville Corridor (QLD) - $200 million Australian Government</li> </ul> <p>More information on the Roads of Strategic Importance initiative is available at <a href="https://investment.infrastructure.gov.au/key_projects/initiatives/roads_strategic_importance.aspx">https://investment.infrastructure.gov.au/key_projects/initiatives/roads_strategic_importance.aspx</a>.</p> <h2><strong>Media Contact:</strong></h2> <p>Deputy Prime Minister – Joanne Williamson 0418 475 668 | Dean Shachar 0418 202 860 </p> <p>Assistant Minister Buchholz – Scott O’Connell 0413 424 384</p> McCormack ROSI funding wish list - consultations for next northern corridor priorities