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Investment for Hunter Valley rail freight network.

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Media Release

Bob Baldwin MP

Federal Member for Paterson 4th June 2004 INVESTMENT FOR HUNTER VALLEY RAIL FREIGHT NETWORK The Federal Member for Paterson, Bob Baldwin, today welcomed funding of $152 million over the next 5 years, to upgrade the 452km of track and signalling that makes up the Hunter Valley rail freight network. The proposed investment aims to increase the capacity of the Hunter Valley network from 85 million tonnes of coal to over 100 tonnes per year, with reduced transit times and improved reliability. The announcement was part of an historic agreement signed today by the Australian Government and the NSW Government, to lease the NSW interstate track and Hunter Valley rail freight corridors to the Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC) for the next 60 years. The ARTC is a corporation owned by the Australian Government, whose aim is to manage the Hunter Valley network to provide a reliable, rapid and cost-effective system for transporting coal, which is expected to reduce the overall cost of coal production and therefore making it more competitive on the world market. The NSW Government maintains ownership of the track. The $152 million investment into the Hunter Valley network, is part of an $870 million infrastructure program by ARTC over the next 5 years, as part of the lease arrangements. “An investment of this size into the Hunter Valley rail network has benefits for all communities in the Hunter region,” Mr Baldwin. “This is about investing in the backbone of Australia and improving infrastructure that supports local industry and local jobs.”