A joint submission by the Central NSW Joint Organisation (CNSWJO) and Regional Development Australia Central West (RDACW) to the NSW Parliament's inquiry into the Inland Rail project and regional New South Wales has highlighted the reinstatement of the Blayney-Demondrille Line as infrastructure that will allow regional communities to benefit from the project.
The submission made by CNSWJO Chair, John Medcalf, and RDACW Chair, Ruth Fagan highlighted a number of important issues for the region.
These included the reinstatement of the line, last mile issues, a sensible approach to bridges and culverts, connectivity into Sydney on both road and rail, connectivity to Canberra and connectivity between the Hume and Newell.
Their submission also identified grade separation in Forbes as an important investment stating: "It would be a travesty if the economic value of Inland Rail comes at the expense of the economic prosperity of any rural town".
"Inland Rail must look at better grade separation and potential alternative routes particularly for the community of Forbes," it read.
"The road rail interfaces in (Forbes) are both a safety concern and will have roads closed for unacceptably long periods of times as the trains traverse the town."
The biggest constraint for the broader region in Central NSW is linking the two Wests - the Central West to Western Sydney.The submission made by CNSWJO Chair, John Medcalf, and RDACW Chair, Ruth Fagan
The submission recommended road funding and Federal Assistance Grants (FAGs) for local government be investigated.
"The biggest constraint for the broader region in Central NSW is linking the two Wests - the Central West to Western Sydney," the submission stated.
"At the moment there are two slow, freight inefficient roads and one slow freight constrained rail linkage.
"While this region appreciates the $2.5m spend on the Greater Western Highway and the ongoing incremental improvements to over taking lanes and safety on the Bells Line, to realise the opportunity of Inland Rail, transport costs between Sydney and Parkes must be reduced.
"Road funding to Councils has declined in real terms and needs to be reinstated.
"Local government must have control of its revenue raising and investment decisions and be fairly funded ... to meet its infrastructure and service responsibilities.
"FAGs funding should be increased to one per cent of total Commonwealth tax revenue and the FAGs distribution methodology be reviewed and modified to achieve a more equitable distribution based on need."
The submission also invited the government's committee members to visit the region, particularly Parkes and Forbes, to experience the challenges and opportunities identified.
While submissions have now closed for the inquiry it will continue with hearings.
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