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Rail revolution to boost economy

Thursday 27 May 2021
It has been a pleasure this week to play a role in helping to develop a nation-building project that will deliver billions of dollars to hundreds of regional communities, including Albury Wodonga.

Key players from the Inland Rail project are in the border cities for a national conference to discuss how the project is already transforming freight movement in Australia, with a focus on the economic benefits it will deliver to the national supply chain.

Inland Rail will deliver a 1700-kilometre freight rail link from Brisbane to Melbourne, passing through regional communities, including Albury Wodonga. In what’s expected to be a game-changer for farmers, manufacturers, and transporters, it will mean freight can be delivered more quickly and more reliably to Australian and overseas customers.

It’s estimated that the network will inject more than $18 billion into the national economy, and as Australia’s 20th largest city, Albury Wodonga will be among the major beneficiaries.

The border cities were an excellent venue to host this conference, not just because we’ll be important players in the movement of freight on the new route, but also because another turning point in Australian rail history happened here when the interstate rail gauges were standardised in 1962, removing a blockage that literally stopped trains at the border.

And now, with another rail revolution under way in the form of Inland Rail, we’re working to make sure our businesses can make the most of the opportunities it presents by building the infrastructure that industry will need to grow and thrive.

Key to that will be the Ettamogah Rail Hub at the NEXUS Industrial Precinct. As an open access intermodal facility, the hub will play a leading role in facilitating freight movement along the Inland Rail route.

Upgrades to the Davey Road Interchange will also improve connectivity to growers, manufacturers and businesses in the wider region.

If you’ve driven past the Davey Road interchange site, you will have seen a new northbound off-ramp and southbound on-ramp taking shape on either side of the Davey Road overpass on the Hume Freeway. Scheduled for completion by the end of the year, the interchange will be crucial in attracting more investment at NEXUS, with jobs and other benefits to flow to the wider community.

We’re looking forward to working with investors interested in setting up business at NEXUS and the potential economic activity paints a clear picture of what that growth will mean: Stage 1 of NEXUS alone is expected to generate $1.5B in gross regional product for the regional economy of Albury and create 9,400 jobs over the next 30 years.  

Similarly, Wodonga’s Logic Centre is also well placed to benefit from Inland Rail with growth in that precinct also set to drive employment and investment across both cities.

Invest Albury Wodonga’s hosting of this year’s Inland Rail conference also helped to shine a spotlight on the potential for both cities to ‘get on board’ with the project, with delegates given the opportunity to see what we have to offer.

That offer goes beyond shovel-ready land and other commercial opportunities that we can provide to investors. Importantly, our relaxed but vibrant regional lifestyle and a skilled workforce will help to add to our attractiveness as a place to live, invest and work and it was a pleasure to show off those advantages to some of the big players in Inland Rail.

Almost 60 years after standardised rail gauges removed one of the biggest transport barriers between Albury and Wodonga, the cities are working closely together under our Two Cities One Community partnership to ensure that we’re well placed to make the most of amazing opportunities such as Inland Rail.