Right now, the construction of Inland Rail is helping deliver new opportunities for our regions and sending millions of dollars through the doors of local businesses.
It’s generating new contracts for a variety of sectors and giving a boost to businesses, big and small.
And along the way it’s helping support family-owned businesses like Tomika Johnson’s Waddi Group.
Director, Waddi Group
Winning the contract to supply spring water for the Parkes to Narromine section of Inland Rail has helped Queensland business, Waddi Group, further expand their national footprint.
The majority-owned Indigenous business started with only two people. Today, they have more than 14 staff with six distributors servicing clients nationally. For Waddi Group Director and Goreng Goreng woman Tomika Johnson, their success lies within their mission - to help build brighter futures for Indigenous Australians across the nation.
“We wanted to provide quality beverage products to the food service sector, all while having a social conscience in everything we do.”
Waddi Group was introduced to the project through an existing relationship they had with one of Inland Rail’s contractors. After a rigorous tender process, they won the contract to provide spring water to all Inland Rail offices, workers’ accommodation, and construction sites between Parkes and Narromine in New South Wales.
Tomika believes Inland Rail is a great project to help support all communities in regional areas, including Indigenous communities. And as a business owner, she sees real value in the faster freight logistics the project offers growing Australian companies like hers.
“I think it’s a great project. I think it will provide lots of opportunities to Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians alike.”
The project is not only supporting new jobs and skills for workers in regional areas but new opportunities for regional businesses as well.
Inland Rail is a game changer for our regions, creating opportunities for manufacturers Like Vossloh Cogifer Australia, based in Castlemaine, Victoria.
Vossloh Cogifer Australia
Vossloh is an experienced manufacturer supplying turnouts, special trackwork components and concrete sleepers to major rail operations in Australia.
General Manager Boris says their contract with Inland Rail means upskilling of strategic and specialist manufacturing right here in Australia – giving our country the momentum we need for tomorrow.
Rail turnouts are a component that allows a train to diverge from one track to another.
Vossloh is Australia’s largest manufacturer of rail turnouts. Established in 1872, it is one of the oldest manufacturing facilities in the country.
Boris says Inland Rail has given them the commercial confidence to invest in their team and expand their facility in Castlemaine.
“Our contract with Inland Rail is the biggest order of turnouts we’ve ever had. Even better, it’s exciting work for us as we are required to deliver several turnouts in different configurations – all of which are new, innovative designs.”
Moving forward, this contract will bring approximately 20 full time jobs when delivery is in full swing.
By that time Vossloh will also have installed and commissioned $4.5 million worth of new machines – and trained their team how to use them – all thanks to Inland Rail.
“The project brings more than $80 million in revenue to Vossloh Cogifer Australia which is enormously important to our business and future investments. It provides a very welcome boost to the regional areas ... including employment and business opportunities and gives the sense the country is moving ahead.”
Not only is Inland Rail creating opportunities for regional businesses, but it’s also giving companies like Trans4m Rail, the opportunity to collaborate on a once in a generation project.
And along the way, exposing their workers to completely new skill sets at almost every level.
Trans4m Rail, Moree
Kamilaroi man, Craig Whitfield, has plenty to say about the opportunities Inland Rail has provided. With no previous construction industry experience, the Moree local is now gaining a Cert III in Construction while working for Trans4m Rail, the contractors building a section of Inland Rail’s Narrabri to North Star project.
“As well as theory, we’re having on the job training with machinery operation like excavator, grader, dozer and roller,” said Craig.
Having previously worked jobs in cotton, wheat and shearing, Craig landed the job on the Inland Rail project through the local Aboriginal employment strategy. He believes the project has been amazing for his hometown, especially for the local Indigenous people.
“Working on a project like this, we’re on our Country. Indigenous people don’t like being away from their Country for too long. It’s so close knit around here.”
After such a long period of drought, Craig saw more and more people leaving the region due to the lack of jobs. But now that Inland Rail has come to town, the employment and business boost driven by the project has created a hive of activity within the New South Wales town.
“Inland Rail has been great for the local economy. The community has been given a real lift in morale,” said Craig.
For Craig personally, all the training he’s been provided has given him a new confidence in himself. He’s now looking at buying his own house in the area, something he never thought he’d be able to do.
“Having an opportunity like this on our doorstep, is one of the best I’ve had in my life, if not THE best.”
With construction well underway, more contractors and workers are supporting local businesses like the Tourist Hotel in Narrabri.
Tourist Hotel, Narrabri
Inland Rail is a game changer for our regional communities - including local pubs and hotels like Geoff Artis’ Tourist Hotel in Narrabri.
Originally built in 1923, the boutique hotel is located in the centre of town and was recently renovated by Geoff and his wife Bec, just in time for Inland Rail’s construction team to enjoy.
“It’s very exciting to have a hotel like this in the country – the atmosphere is vibrant and it’s a great place to be. When people come into our front bar they think they could be in the middle of Sydney!” Geoff said.
Geoff says he appreciates how busy the hotel is with Inland Rail.
“Thanks to the support of the Inland Rail team we are smashing records in the kitchen each week. We’ve been able to put more staff on, hold beer garden events and sponsor more local sporting associations and groups.”
This boost to business means Geoff and Bec can now go forward and spend more on renovations to help host big events and more functions.
“I love living in Narrabri and look forward to what the future holds for the Tourist Hotel. We’re excited about the future on the back of the support from Inland Rail,” Geoff said.
The opportunities being created by the Inland Rail project are endless. Right across the country it’s supporting jobs and new skills for everyday Australians and generating new business opportunities for companies to help them grow.
This is our opportunity. This is our Inland Rail.