Josh Irvine and Megan Seis, of Narromine and Dunedoo respectively, are off to Charles Sturt University as two of four students to be awarded scholarships worth up to $20,000 under the Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC) Inland Rail Skills Academy program.
Federal Member for Parkes Mark Coulton said the Inland Rail scholarship program is helping regional students to further their education and kick-start their careers to the benefit of regional Australia.
“Inland Rail is already delivering benefits for the communities of Central West New South Wales. More than 1,700 people have worked on Inland Rail since construction began, including 676 locals on the Parkes to Narromine project so far,” Mr Coulton said.
“Local businesses are also benefiting from the $94.5 million spent on supplies, logistics support and other goods and services contributing to the construction of Inland Rail.
“The Inland Rail Skills Academy will enable us to build the skills of young people in regional Australia and help them get started in careers which directly contribute to the prosperity of their regions.
“I’m proud Narromine and Dunedoo locals Josh Irvine and Megan Seis have been awarded scholarships. They’re both studying scientific degrees and have expressed a desire to work in regional Australia once their studies are complete, giving back to the communities that raised them.
“We all see the benefits Inland Rail is bringing our region, and these ARTC scholarships are another excellent initiative to keep those benefits coming over the long term.”
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Michael McCormack said Inland Rail’s construction brings significant economic stimulus to the regional communities along the 1,700-kilometre track.
“In New South Wales this means 5,000 jobs during construction and a boost of $2.5 billion to the state economy,” Mr McCormack said.
“Our commitment to Inland Rail has always been about far more than building a rail line. It’s an investment in our future freight capacity that will unlock the productivity of our regions – connecting regional towns to new markets, new opportunities and brighter futures.
“I’m pleased to see ARTC investing beyond Inland Rail’s construction and putting a down payment on the next generation of engineers, scientists and planning professionals who will build on the investments we make today and further grow the region.
“Inland Rail will require scientific solutions at every step, not just during construction but once it’s operational. This scholarship program is helping to develop the scientific minds of the future – young Australians who will directly contribute to the future prosperity of their region.
“Inland Rail will support 16,000 jobs during construction yet the benefits go well beyond that.
“Each and every person employed, or trained, through Inland Rail will gain skills and expertise that they can take back to their communities.”
The Inland Rail Scholarships Program provides real world education opportunities for regional students considering an undergraduate degree at University of Southern Queensland, Charles Sturt University and La Trobe University.
Josh and Megan join other students Hannah Davies of Temora and Jessie Rix of Bogan Gate, who have all received scholarships to Charles Sturt University thanks to the Inland Rail Scholarship Program.