Up to 350 workers involved in the construction of the Inland Rail are set to be accommodated in Moree as work begins on the Narrabri to North Star section in the coming months.
Moree Plains Shire Council has been working with Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC) and its contractors to ensure the transition to work and life in Moree for the 350 workers is as seamless as possible.
Council met with local accommodation providers this week, as the housing arrangements for the influx of specialist contractors and their employees working on the project over the next few years are finalised.
Keen to ensure that the benefits flowing to the Moree Plains are maximised and learning from the hard lessons experienced by other regions in similar circumstances, council's general manager Lester Rodgers has been leading the charge to ensure the solution is positive for all parties, including the broader Moree Plains community.
"The project itself is going to be a massive boost to the Moree Plains economy and the flow-on benefits from hosting such a large workforce right here in Moree cannot be underestimated," Mr Rodgers said.
"With most of the workforce to be accommodated here in Moree, we have been working with ARTC and its contractors to ensure the demand for worker accommodation and catering generates positive outcomes for us all.
"Noting that work is due to kick off imminently, the final arrangements will be confirmed in coming weeks."
Mayor Katrina Humphries said she cannot wait to throw open the doors for the Inland Rail workforce.
"The arrival of a lot of workers into a centre such as Moree in a short timeframe can have significant challenges," she said.
"However, we are confident that our planning and collaboration with the right stakeholders, including our local accommodation sector, means that the shire as a whole can reap the benefits of this once-in-a-generation opportunity."
Cr Humphries said council has been behind this project from the very start, when funding seemed like a "pipe dream", recognising the benefits that Inland Rail could bring to the shire.
"Now to have construction of the Inland Rail finally steam into our shire, it really is fitting that we will be hosting the lion's share of the workforce needed to deliver this part of the project," she said.
"We've always felt that the benefits of this project will be felt far beyond the route itself - it's why we have invested so much time in planning and building our relationship with ARTC.
"Inland Rail is going to bring safer, less congested highways, cheaper freight for our producers and we are excited by the new economic opportunities it will open up for the Moree Plains. Bring. It. On.
"With construction due to commence in coming months, I am looking forward to welcoming plenty of new faces to town and I would encourage community members to do the same."
The recently completed Parkes to Narromine section of the Inland Rail employed more than 1800 workers over the life of the project.
To find out more about the Narrabri to North Star section go to https://inlandrail.artc.com.au/where-we-go/projects/narrabri-to-north-star/