Member for Cootamundra Steph Cooke joined Acting Prime Minister Michael McCormack today for the announcement of an important step in the Federal Government’s Inland Rail Project.

Mr McCormack, who is also Federal Minister for Infrastructure and Transport as well as Federal Member for Riverina, announced a $6 million contract for feasibility design work between Illabo and Stockinbingal.

“Today’s contract award continues our commitment to see the project delivered, with construction in parts of New South Wales set to commence in 2018, creating thousands of jobs along the way,” said Mr McCormack.

“I’m delighted that I’m here today with Steph Cooke, the Member for Cootamundra, a very hard-working Member,” he added.

“She understands, as does the NSW Coalition Government, just how vital the Inland Rail Project from Melbourne to Brisbane is. She understands, as does her government, just how crucial this is to the freight supply chain right throughout New South Wales but indeed linking Queensland and Victoria, linking our farms, linking our farmers from farm gate to port and taking advantage of the free trade agreements that we’ve been able to broker as the Commonwealth with South Korea, with China, and Japan,” he said.

Ms Cooke highlighted how important the Inland Rail Project will be for primary producers in the Cootamundra electorate.

“It’s wonderful to be here today to be able to stand by the Member for Riverina in Michael McCormack, who is of course our Acting Prime Minister at the moment, and what a wonderful day it is to see this next progression in the Inland Rail Project,” she said.

“This is wonderful for the State seat of Cootamundra, for our farmers, to think that we’re going to be able to get our produce from paddock to port once this line is completed,” she added.

“It’s that next step that we need to go on in terms of securing that corridor and I’m so proud to be part of a State Government that is working so hard with our Federal counterparts to make sure that this route is the one that we need, that it is delivered.

“It’s fantastic for our communities: it’ll bring jobs, it’ll bring growth, it will mean that our farmers really benefit right through this area, and we know that the Cootamundra electorate is the seat of small communities and it’s got that very fine agricultural spine running right through it,” she added.