THE Central West could become a gateway to the world under a $3 million investment in Bathurst unveiled yesterday.
Local grain trading, storing and packing company Grainforce has established a rail terminal and rail link capable of transporting food and fibre from the Kelso silo precinct to Sydney and then Asia.
Acting Premier Andrew Stoner was in the city to officially open the ambitious project yesterday.
“There were times when we thought it wouldn’t come off and, sure, it’s a bit of a gamble, but we think it can work,” Grainforce’s Derek Larnach said.
He has had the vision for the project for at least a decade.
“We’ve extended the rail spur out here and made it operational because there’s no other rail terminal in the central west,” Mr Larnach said.
“It’s been created in partnership with Southern Shorthaul Railroad (SSR), which has one local director, Milton Bromwich, who is keen to develop a short-haul run from Bathurst to Sydney. Our aim is to get product delivered into the Kelso terminal for transport to Sydney. From there, it can be sent anywhere around the world.”
Mr Larnach said it would get traffic off the Great Western Highway, as well as generate opportunities for businesses across the central west.
“It will allow us to export food and fibre to Asia,” he said.
“In reality, this is allowing the central west to be a gateway to the world.
“We estimate there will be about 20 permanent jobs created and another 60 flow-on positions with contractors and associated businesses like those that supply heavy machinery truck tyres.
“It’s got be be good for the wider Bathurst economy, both now and into the future.”