More jobs and the potential to open new paths to market for Central West producers are likely to flow from the creation of the Inland Rail freight transport project.
Community leaders said the creation of a major transport hub at Parkes would lead to opportunities for businesses in Orange and the region to benefit.
Orange City Council economic development community committee chairman Jeff Whitton said it presented an opportunity for businesses, particularly those seeking to export through northern Australia or Melbourne.
Cr Whitton said Parkes was close enough to Orange for the community to benefit.
“With regards to any sister city like Parkes for Orange that can provide a major distribution hub, that would certainly provide a spin-off for the region,” he said.
“Any infrastructure projects in Australia are a good thing.”
That would certainly be a spin-off for the region.Cr Jeff Whitton, Orange City Council
Cr Whitton said he envisaged trains and trucks would work together to transport containers and produce through the region.
“The trucking industry employs a lot of people,” he said.
“The knee-jerk reaction would be to get trucks off the road. That would be a measured approach. I don’t think that rail could handle [it all] at the time.”
Cr Whitton said it was probable a hub and spoke arrangement would be set up where trucks would transport goods to and from hubs such as Parkes with the trains transferring the freight to the ports and therefore reducing the amount of long-haul traffic by road.
Member for Orange Phil Donato said the Inland Rail project offered the potential of jobs and better access to ports for producers throughout the region.
“No doubt we’ll see improvements to connectivity and infrastructure in Parkes and throughout the area.
“It will create a lot of jobs through the construction process.”
Mr Donato said regional producers stood to gain from it.
“The real benefit will be for producers, whether it be grain, livestock [or other industries], in getting their produce to farmers and markets,” he said.
However two regional producers that use rail traffic currently do not envisage they will benefit from the Inland Rail hub being at Parkes.
Both the Manildra Group and MSM Milling, also based at Manildra on the Orange-Parkes railway line, said they would continue to freight produce to the east coast rather than going west.
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