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- The Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC) has engaged global leaders in sustainable solutions for infrastructure to deliver the Inland Rail Southern Civil Works Program valued at more than $1.2 billion.
The program will comprise a 50-50 joint venture between ACCIONA and CPB Contractors Joint Venture (ACACPB JV), who have been appointed as the preferred proponents to work with ARTC on the Southern Civil Works Program.
The program includes approximately 306km of the construction of greenfield alignment within the Narromine to Narrabri section of Inland Rail.
ARTC Inland Rail Interim Chief Executive Rebecca Pickering said the announcement was the culmination of months of work by ARTC and will support enormous economic opportunity in New South Wales.
“Inland Rail, from construction through to its delivery, is a nation building project. It is the catalyst for thousands of regional jobs and will ultimately change the way freight is moved around the country,” Mrs Pickering said.
“We will need a large local workforce to support this part of the project with an estimated 7,500 workers needed in New South Wales at the peak of construction in 2023-24.
“ACACPB JV will initially be working with ARTC to review reference design and develop construction plans and methodologies ahead of the development of a fully costed proposal for the first of the works packages next year.
“ACACPB JV will now be seeking partnerships with businesses and skilled operators that can support project delivery such as transport operators, fencing, quarries, earthworks and electrical companies.
“This appointment, at this time, also allows us to maximise local jobs and procurement”, Mrs Pickering said.
CPB Contractors, a member of the CIMIC Group, Managing Director Jason Spears said: “CPB Contractors will use its extensive regional experience to ensure that opportunities for local suppliers are maximised and that jobs for local workers are created. We are delivering major rail projects across Australia and will work closely with the ARTC to ensure that these works are delivered to schedule.”
Bede Noonan, ACCIONA’s CEO in Australia & New Zealand, said “We are proud to be involved in this landmark project that will not only deliver a fast and reliable freight rail service between Melbourne and Brisbane, but also provide significant jobs and economic opportunities across northern NSW.
“We look forward to working with ARTC and continuing our strong partnership with CPB Contractors as we deliver critical public infrastructure projects across Australia.”
Mrs Pickering said the appointment of a civil works proponent in parallel with environmental planning approvals will allow local businesses to hit the ground running when formal approval is given.
“Major construction will not start until statutory approvals have been received from the New South Wales and Australian governments, but the appointment of a preferred proponent now tells local businesses to get ‘Inland Rail ready’ and start talking with ACACPB JV about what the future looks like,” she said.
“The civil works undertaken in this crucial program will include approximately 306 kilometres of new track formation comprising of bulk earthworks, drainage, bridge and viaduct structures, as well as materials and logistics management. With all of this comes the requirement for a large local workforce and suppliers to support the delivery and invest money back into the local economy.”
ARTC Inland Rail Director of Pre-Contracts Rob Storey said ARTC wanted to be in a place to begin works straight away, once a green light was given to proceed with the project.
“In September last year, we announced a change to our procurement process to make it more collaborative, projects smaller and less complex and provide a broader section of the industry with more opportunity to participate on Inland Rail,” Mr Storey said.
“This was done in line with the Australian Government’s commitment to fast-track investment in critical infrastructure projects and is in response to industry feedback we had received.
“We are working with ACACPB JV to develop works packages as part of this approach, which will enable more suppliers and contractors to get Inland Rail ready.”
“This is what industry has told us they want, and it has driven our conversations with them. It will maximise opportunities to participate and has de-risked procurement processes, while we engage with government on the environmental approvals and detailed design for this project,” he said.