ARTC plans to host quarterly Inland Rail community forums

Parkes Shire residents have the opportunity to find out more about the progress of the Inland Rail project, with the Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC) hosting community sessions in Parkes and Peak Hill this week.

Nearly half a million dollars has already been spent in the region's economy from the construction of the Inland Rail.

In an invitation extended to the community, ARTC says it wants to inform people of the contracts, jobs and opportunities the project will deliver.

The forums will cover updates on construction on the Parkes to Narromine section where 98.4 kilometres of existing rail track is being upgraded and 5.3 kilometres of new rail track is being built.

The first community information session will take place at the Inland Rail Community Hub at 290 Clarinda Street tomorrow March 26, from 5pm to 6.30pm.

Peak Hill will host a forum on Wednesday from 5pm to 6.30pm at the Peak Hill RSL, 57/61 Caswell Street, Peak Hill.

Parkes to Narromine Inland Rail Project Director Colin Forde said ARTC is committed to working closely with communities and stakeholders throughout the lifecycle of the project.

"With construction accelerating in the Central West, the benefits and jobs already flowing to regional Australia, we are excited to be partnering with local businesses to boost jobs,' he said.

"It's great to see 286 workers from INLink and their contractors now working on the Parkes to Narromine section.

"We want local people to be kept up to date on the contracts and jobs this project will deliver and we'll continue to work with the communities so they reap the benefits as much as possible.

"We will be holding these forums quarterly to enable them to make the most of the huge opportunities Inland Rail will bring."

Small business owner Wayne Osbourne of Andrews Auto Electrics in Parkes, who has been commissioned to modify construction vehicles for fit-to-purpose work on the Inland Rail, says the initial work is also opening his business up to other companies and opportunities.

"It's been very busy to a point where we have had to put on two new apprentices for the first time in three years, as well as more admin support since Inland Rail has come to town," he said.

"Mainly because we see there will be expansion within the next six to 18 months, as a result of what Inland Rail is bringing to this town."

Rob Ehsman from Signs You See, another Parkes business owner, said conditions are so good currently due to the influence of Inland Rail that he believes it is helping balance the impact of the drought on his business.

"We started doing work earlier for InLink and now with the abundance of contractors that are on site, our business is branching out into other areas as well and we are finding that we are getting a lot of work out of Inland Rail," he said.

Mr Forde said the upcoming sessions will provide opportunities for people in the Central West to hear directly from project representatives, to ask questions of the subject matter experts and offer their feedback, and be informed of the potential opportunities.

"I would encourage everyone to attend," he said.

"Feel free to send our team any questions in advance to make sure we can provide you with the information you need at the forum."

People can email their questions to inlandrailnsw@artc.com.au.

For more information on the Inland Rail, people can also phone a project team member on 1800 732 761 or call into the Inland Rail Community Hub at 290 Clarinda Street, Parkes.