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$20 billion spending, 16,000+ jobs
The $8 billion inland rail project is expected to create 16,000 jobs over the next eight years and environmental scientists may be the first in line.
The Australian Rail Track Authority (ARTC) said tenders for environmental impact statements for the 13 projects that make up the inland rail would be the first to be released.
Narromine Mayor Craig Davies believes his town could be one of the intermodal hubs that will attract other businesses involved in shifting freight between rail or road, which he believes will trigger a jobs boom.
"It's certainly the most exciting news I've heard and it offers the greatest opportunity for investment and job creation that our shire has ever seen," he said.
Michael Kilgariff from the Australian Logistics Council said Parkes, in the central west of New South Wales, was another likely winner from the inland rail as the new route would intersect with the east-west rail line.
"This is because it needs to be maintained, operated and all of the freight coming in from other regional centres needs to be dealt with."
The project will create jobs for engineers, labourers, IT specialists and workers to lay track, dig tunnels and build terminals.
Inland rail commitment good for investmentChris Warnock from Engineers Australia said environmental approvals would be necessary before construction could begin and there was a looming skill shortage.
Chris Warnock says a skills shortage is looming as a rail construction boom gathers pace.
(Supplied: Engineers Australia)
"There's a lot of other activity in rail, particularly in Melbourne and regional Victoria and in Sydney, so there will be a lot of competitive pressure for engineering resources," he said.
It is not clear yet whether ARTC would include provisions to ensure companies employ locals or if it would permit fly-in fly-out workers.
That may be required if design and construction firms cannot find the people they need.
There may also be opportunities from inland rail for workers in the manufacturing sector.
One of the country's biggest rail freight operators, Pacific National, said the funding decision enabled them to plan an upgrade so they could double-stack their rolling stock and tow-longer trains.
"The financing announced in the budget has given us certainty that allows us to do that investment planning, whether it's for the rolling stock or potentially, for terminals in Melbourne, Brisbane and along the route," it said.
This article first appeared on www.abc.net.au
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