As Elvis Presley would say "It's now or never" deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack said, opening the 2018 Inland Rail Conference in Parkes on Wednesday.
Mr McCormack, who is also the member for Riverina and Minister for Infrastructure and Transport told the conference "we know Inland Rail is going to play an important role in getting produce to markets earlier”.
“Over the next decade in this country we are going to be spending over 100 million on rail alone,” Mr McCormack said.
Speaking specifically about the Parkes connection Mr McCormack told the conference Parkes is a very important part of this Inland Rail network.
“It’s appropriate that the organisers have chosen Parkes for this inaugural inland rail conference,” Mr McCormack said.
“Parkes is the epicentre of the Inland Rail project, it is Australia’s emerging inland freight hub.
“As we meet here we have advice that a Parkes based business have been awarded inland rail contracts.
“That’s encouraging, positive and well deserved.
“The immediate word back from both companies is more jobs, up to 16 new local jobs are being created.
“Another first hand example of how this strategic commitment is delivering for Australia.
“Inland Rail has been talked about for a long time, in fact records could show it was first talked about in 1890 and today it is becoming a reality.
“Fourteen thousand tonnes of Australian steel will be used on the first section, the Narromine to Parkes section.
“In total Inland Rail will need 262,000 tonnes of steel, the equivalent of five Sydney Harbour Bridges and 745,000 cubic metres of concrete.
“This town is going to benefit, the whole nation is going to benefit from this project.
“It truly is not only nation building but certainly going to provide many more jobs for many more Australians.”
Mr McCormack told the conference that for every dollar of taxpayer money invested in the project the nation would see a return of $2.62 to the Australian economy.
“It’s an infrastructure project in the national interest.
“It will deliver vast productivity gains, from our farmers and agribusinesses while strengthening regional businesses and communities.”
Mr McCormack said the project would also save lives, reducing reliance on heavy vehicles to do the heavy lifting in the national freight task.