Companies asked to register interest in building first section of rail link

Federal Member for Riverina Michael McCormack (right) discusses the opening of Inland Rail tenders with  Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Darren Chester (centre), and Federal Member for Parkes Mark Coulton.
Federal Member for Riverina Michael McCormack (right) discusses the opening of Inland Rail tenders with Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Darren Chester (centre), and Federal Member for Parkes Mark Coulton.

Construction companies have been called on to register their interest with the Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC) in building the Parkes to Narromine section of the Inland Rail project.

A shortlist of companies will be selected from the ARTC’s Registration of Interest process and invited to proceed to a formal Expressions of Interest phase.

ARTC program delivery director for Inland Rail Simon Thomas said work on the upgrade of line between Parkes and Narromine is expected to start in 2018.

“What we need to do is upgrade the already existing 107km rail corridor between Parkes and Narromine that is operated by ARTC as part of our interstate rail network,” he said.

“The work will involve upgrading the track, track formation and culverts in preparation for double-stacked, 1.8km trains.

“We also need to provide three new crossing loops at Goonumbla, Peak Hill, and Timjelly.”

Mr Thomas said as Inland Rail progressed there would be more opportunities for industry to benefit, including Australian and local companies.

“We will be following a rigorous process to appoint the right construction partners and suppliers for the each of the 13 Inland Rail sections,” he said.

Public exhibition for the project’s Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) closed on August 18 and 14 public submissions were received.  

“With the EIS for the Parkes to Narromine section currently being considered by the NSW Government, ARTC is getting construction-ready,” he said.

Federal Member for Riverina and Small Business Minister, Michael McCormack, said the Inland Rail project was a vital link for regional and rural businesses to get their products to market.

“There are more than 15,000 small businesses in the Riverina and Central West, with around a third of them being farmers,” he said.

“Parkes is the place where the north-south and the east-west rail lines intersect in Australia.

“And the area produces so much – it’s very much the heart of Australia’s agricultural sector.”

Parkes mayor Ken Keith OAM was excited to see the iconic project commencing.

“The Inland Rail will mean a boon for regional economies like Parkes and Narromine, with many local jobs predicted to be generated as a result of the construction phase of the project,” he said.

“Once the Parkes-to-Narromine section is complete, we believe it will be a catalyst for investment in our region.”

Federal Infrastructure and Transport Minister Darren Chester said the project will support thousands of jobs across regional Australia, creating 16,000 direct and indirect jobs at the peak of construction.

“Inland Rail will transform the way we move freight around the country, connecting regional industries and communities to domestic and international markets,” he said.

Interested companies, that satisfy the evaluation criteria, can submit a Registration of Interest (ROI) document via the TenderLink website: www.tenderlink.com/inlandrail/.

Enquiries about the ROI should be addressed to mbircontracts@artc.com.au or via TenderLink.

ROI submissions close September 22.

ARTC is also inviting construction industry representatives and other interested parties to attend an industry briefing on the first major section of the Inland Rail Program to progress to construction.

ARTC will be holding the briefing on Friday, September 15 from 9am-11am at the Shangri-La Hotel in Sydney and via livestream.