People within the Narrabri to North Star section of Inland Rail now have a direct link with the government, with the opening of the new regional Inland Rail office in Moree.
The Moree office will help connect people and services to Inland Rail from Narrabri to the Queensland border.
Long-time local resident Angela Doering has been appointed by the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Cities and Regional Development as the first Inland Rail regional liaison officer (RLO) to be based in Moree to work with communities and local businesses along the alignment.
Ms Doering's role will be all about helping locals to identify and connect to the benefits of Inland Rail.
"I am the face of the Department of Infrastructure on the ground," Ms Doering said.
"I'll liaise with landholders, organisations, businesses, and all tiers of government to promote the benefits of Inland Rail. I'll put people in touch with services and programs to link businesses and people up with potential employment opportunities or industry opportunities with regards to the construction phase.
"I'll connect people with the right information."
Ms Doering, a farmer/primary producer from Crooble, has had eight years of experience with Local Government as a Gwydir Shire councillor, during which time she developed a passion for economic development and revitalising regional Australia.
She believes Inland Rail is one of the few major infrastructure projects that can and will bring revitalisation to regional Australia.
"I'm very excited about the Inland Rail," she said.
"It's not just the actual construction that will bring employment but the value-added industries that will come along in the next five, 10, 15 years. That will attract complementary services, which makes us that much more attractive for people who want a tree change from the city.
"I think we're all excited about the possibility of getting better roads."
Member for Parkes and Minister for Regional Services, Decentralisation and Local Government Mark Coulton met with Ms Doering during a visit to Moree on Monday and he was thrilled to see a local appointed to the role.
"No one knows regional towns like the people who live there," he said.
"It is this local knowledge, the connection to community and the deep understanding of regional strengths and challenges that will improve the delivery of government services and programs like Inland Rail."
Mr Coulton said Ms Doering will be on the ground to support the implementation of Australian Government programs such as the Inland Rail Interface Improvement Program and expansion of the CSIRO's Inland Rail TraNSIT study to model potential Inland Rail cost savings.
"There's a lot of interest in what benefits may come, not only from the construction but long-term," he said.
"She's the go-to person, she'll be a source of information and connectivity. It's important that local people have the opportunity for employment and that local businesses know where to go.
"The Moree RLO will work with industry and community during Inland Rail's planning and design including for the important Macintyre River crossing."
Ms Doering started in the RLO role in early December and spent the past month meeting key stakeholders before it all starts to "ramp up".
Next week there will be a networking session at the Max Centre for local suppliers interested in meeting the shortlisted construction firms for the Narrabri to North Star project.
"It'll be a bit of a speed dating session," Ms Doering said.
"People coming to meet the construction firms will need to have an elevated pitch ready."
The networking session will be held from 11.30am to 4pm at the Max Centre on Wednesday, January 22. For more information or to register, go to n2ns.youcanbook.me.
The three shortlisted construction firms, Landlease Engineering Pty Ltd, RailFirst (a joint venture between Downer EDI and Seymour White) and Trans4m Rail (a joint venture between Rhomberg Rail Australia, BGC Contracting and SEE Civil), were announced in December last year.
Construction is expected to commence in the second half of this year.
"People are getting excited now because materials are being delivered and they can see the project is real," Ms Doering said.
"They know it's going to happen."
The Moree office is part of a broader network of Inland Rail regional offices and will complement the regional activities of Australian government staff already established offices in Wodonga, Dubbo and Toowoomba. Inland Rail developer, the Australian Rail Track Corporation, also has a network of local support staff in regional centres.
For more information about Inland Rail and the regional offices visit www.InlandRail.gov.au, or contact Ms Doering on 0437 734 756.