Inland Rail ‘pay dirt’ opportunities for farmers in Narrabri to Narromine section

RAIL LINK: The Inland Rail is slated for completion by 2025, linking for the first time Brisbane and Melbourne ports with fast, heavy haul on a common gauge railway. Photo: FILE
RAIL LINK: The Inland Rail is slated for completion by 2025, linking for the first time Brisbane and Melbourne ports with fast, heavy haul on a common gauge railway. Photo: FILE

New opportunities are being unearthed for landowners in the central west to reap the benefits of the Inland Rail program through the supply of quarry material. 

The Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC) is encouraging landowners in the Narromine to Narrabri study area to register their interest in supplying borrow pit/quarry materials such as rock, gravel and soil for the section.  

Inland Rail Narromine to Narrabri Project Director Duncan Mitchell said the material would be used to build the rail embankments during construction.

“This is just the start of the kinds of opportunities people will see from Inland Rail in the area and we want as many people as possible to get in touch to let us know what they have,” Mr Mitchell said.

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“Ideally the location of borrow pits containing suitable general fill material would be within 25km of the Narromine to Narrabri study area. However for competent rock which can be used to produce ballast rock, up to 50km from the study area could be considered.”

Mr Mitchell said this means people in areas further away from the study area with properties in Dubbo, Wee Waa, Trangie, Coonamble, Coonabarabran and Baradine should also take a look at this opportunity. 

“For the right material, you could say it will be a ‘pay dirt’ opportunity in more ways than one,” Mr Mitchell said. 

“ARTC will pay an extraction fee per tonne and will rehabilitate the borrow pits and cover with topsoil.”

“There is also potential for land to become more usable, for example, if a hill is removed and land is flattened or if a hollow is left providing a new water catchment,” he said. 

Council leaders from Narromine and Narrabri are keen to see local landowners get involved.

“This is the first of the opportunities that we have alluded to that would come from this once in a lifetime initiative,” Narromine Shire Council Mayor Craig Davies said.

“I encourage all farmers to take advantage of this opportunity and have dams built, unwanted earth moved and make some cash at the same time.

“I have no doubt that the cooperation of the farming community will only enhance this project and bring results that will deliver benefits for all involved.”

Mr Mitchell said registrations close on January 28 and subsequent contact will be made with landowners regarding land considered suitable.

“In total for the Narromine to Narrabri project we estimate we’ll need to import in excess of 3 million cubic metres of fill material, or the equivalent of about 1,200 olympic-sized swimming pools,” Mr Mitchell said.

“We will need to test the material at the property to confirm its suitability. This will require geotechnical work and appropriate permission from landowners.

“ARTC will review all submissions and contact landowners to discuss the next steps and answer any questions related to investigations,” he said.

Mr Mitchell said the design of the Narromine to Narrabri section of Inland Rail was progressing in consultation with the community. An EIS is due to be exhibited for public submissions later in 2019 with construction to begin only following all project approvals by the NSW Government and Australian Government.

“As the project progresses towards construction other types of opportunities expected to be available locally include tendering for plant and geotechnical equipment, mobile camps, concrete supply services, fencing, earthmoving, drainage, electrical works, concrete works, security and water bore drilling,” he said.

To register for the quarry material opportunity, and for further information including maps of locations which may have suitable material, visit: https://inlandrail.artc.com.au/n2n-borrow-pit-registration .