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Concrete railway sleepers from Wagga a boost to local jobs.



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MEDIA RELEASE The Hon Anthony Albanese MP Minister for Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government

24 February 2009 AA052/2009

CONCRETE RAILWAY SLEEPERS FROM WAGGA A BOOST TO LOCAL JOBS

New concrete railway sleepers will continue rolling out of Wagga Wagga thanks to the Rudd Labor Government's $1.2 billion investment in the interstate rail network.

Austrak's Wagga Wagga factory is producing new dual gauge concrete sleepers - and as result of the Government's unprecedented investment will continue to operate at full capacity until November. The factory employs more than 65 locals.

Federal Infrastructure and Transport Minister Anthony Albanese said the new sleepers will replace the old wooden sleepers along the interstate network between Melbourne-Sydney-Brisbane, greatly reducing the likelihood of the track buckling during hot weather.

"The new sleepers will create a faster, more reliable rail system," said Mr Albanese.

"The upgrade of this vital line is perhaps the biggest rail project to be undertaken in Australia since the corridor was originally laid.

"I'm particularly pleased the Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC) has partnered with a local company to deliver our massive investment program - a partnership that's protecting local jobs and delivering a boost to the Wagga Wagga economy.

"Once Austrak finishes producing the sleepers for current projects on the southern rail corridor in March, they will start producing sleepers for the new projects announced by Prime Minister in December."

ARTC Chief Executive Officer David Marchant explained that while the production of the concrete sleepers is essential for projects on the Southern corridor, the work will also benefit the Wagga community.

"ARTC is proud to partner with a local company as we hit the ground running with the upgrade of rail infrastructure in NSW. The jobs this work will generate will be a significant boost to Wagga," said Mr Marchant.

"The concrete sleepers being produced out of Austrak Wagga will predominantly be used on the upgrade of the Southern section of the North South corridor."

Austrak General Manager David Priddle explained how the Australian Government's investment would boost their operations.

"The Nation Building injection by the Australian Government will allow Austrak to continue work at the Wagga Wagga factory," Mr Priddle said.

"The Government's announcement of further projects not only secures ongoing work

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URL: http://www.minister.infrastructure.gov.au/aa/releases/2009/February/AA052_2009.htm

for our staff, it also provides a boost to employment for our suppliers in Wagga Wagga.

"This investment in local businesses is vital in regional areas."

Media Contacts

Jeff Singleton ( Mr Albanese's Office ) 0410 476 890

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