Toowoomba Inland Rail office to provide focal point for community
With construction of the Inland Rail underway in southern states, the Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC) has turned its attention to the growth of the project in Queensland
Inland Rail already has more than 300 Queensland employees and contractors working on the project across offices in Brisbane, Gatton and Toowoomba and with construction anticipated to bring around 5500 jobs to the Darling Downs and Lockyer Valley during construction, ARTC has moved into larger premises in Toowoomba to cater for further growth.
ARTC Inland Rail Chief Executive Officer Richard Wankmuller said Toowoomba is a key location on the Inland Rail route and the new office, which officially opens today, will have space for up to 40 project staff.
“The initial Toowoomba office opened in 2016 with two people and we have seen steady growth in the number of staff needed in the area and we have simply outgrown our original location,” Mr Wankmuller said.
“We have technical people out in the field working on community engagement, hydrology, flora and fauna and geo-technical studies and as the project ramps up our regional presence is going to continue to expand as we near construction,” he said.
“With Inland Rail progressing we are working very closely with the local communities in Queensland to maximise benefits for the towns along the alignment. We have secured more than $300 million in contracts so far for Queensland companies and that is just the beginning.
“Queensland will be the largest beneficiary of Inland Rail with around 60% of construction expenditure for the entire project in the state. The benefit to Queensland’s Gross State Product has been modelled at more than $7.2 billion during construction and the first 50 years of operation.”
Mr Wankmuller also encouraged businesses to think broader on how they can become involved with Inland Rail.
“Not everyone is suited to construction work, but there are opportunities with Inland Rail in administration, technical jobs and support services. Ninety percent of our current workforce in Toowoomba was recruited locally and we will continue to employ locally wherever we can,” Mr Wankmuller said.
“Inland Rail is committed to using local suppliers and labour where possible. Local suppliers were used for the fit out of the new office and the re-instatement of the initial one,” he said.
Will Todd, of WJT Builders, also praised ARTC’s support of local businesses.
“As a smaller family business, I am grateful that ARTC gave us the opportunity to do the job. We employ all local businesses as subcontractors and it’s great that ARTC is so committed to supporting local companies where they can,” Mr Todd said.
“We have found that small, local businesses often get over-looked when trying to secure major Government contracts, but the opportunity that ARTC gave us shows we can deliver these contracts if given the chance,” he said.
“And because of the ARTC work where we worked with a specialist product we hadn’t used before; we have already secured another contract with the State Government using that product. Working with ARTC is already paying dividends.
“ARTC’s attitude to using local suppliers is good for local business and will help us grow our business and stimulate the local economy when we need it most.”
Media contact: Chris Leslight | ARTC | 0427 691 262
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