Progress at regional New South Wales’ first special activation precinct was celebrated last week with a visit by NSW Deputy Premier and Minister for Regional NSW John Barilaro and the NSW Nationals Candidate for Orange Kate Hazelton.
Speaking from the site of Pacific National’s Parkes Logistics Terminal the Deputy Premier said what started as a vision from Parkes Shire Council is now coming to life.
“This is moving quite quickly, last time we were out here it was a paddock and now we are seeing some fantastic work from Pacific National and that’s an example of the sort of business that will come to town,” Mr Barilaro said.
“With the Inland Rail coming, we have to seize the opportunity to grow smart businesses in freight and logistics, agriculture and agricultural products, manufacturing and services.
“In just a few months since we announced this initiative, we have developed a strong strategic business case and invested millions for enabling infrastructure that will support the continued development of Parkes as an inland freight port.
Ms Hazelton said community consultation has started for the next stage of development, which will include face to face meetings with the community and public information sessions in coming weeks.
“Consulting with local businesses, landowners and the community is an important part of the planning process and the wider Parkes community will soon be invited to have their say,” Ms Hazelton said.
“We will work closely with Parkes Shire Council to undertake detailed environmental, economic and social studies that will help shape a master plan for the very exciting Parkes Special Activation Precinct.”
Pacific National welcomed the special activation precinct project and the opportunities it presents for the business and region.
Director of Corporate Affairs Andrew Huckel said Parkes is well known as the Elvis capital of Australia but in the future Parkes will become known as the Memphis Down Under.
“Memphis is a major freight and logistics town in the interior of the United States and in the future companies like Pacific National with that added investment confidence will make Parkes into arguably the biggest national freight and logistics hub in inland regional Australia,” Mr Huckel said.
“Major construction is underway. When the terminal is completed later this year it will house a workforce of 100 and will be running 1800 metre long freight trains double stacked with containers between Parkes and Perth."
Parkes Shire Councillor Alan Ward said he is a big supporter of the state government’s special activation precinct concept.
“It’s been a vision for Parkes now for many years,” Cr Ward said.
“It’s very exciting, the economic growth that will come from this will be overwhelming over the next 10 years.
“As we move through this next phase of the planning process, I encourage our local community and landholders to join the conversation and be involved in the development of the master plan.”