Wagga's new road and rail freight hub celebrated a major milestone on Wednesday with its connection to the main Sydney rail line providing another step towards creating 6000 new jobs in the Bomen industrial area.
Riverina Intermodal Freight and Logistics Hub (RiFL) project has now completed construction of its $14.4 million, 4.9-kilometre rail master siding, which now connects to the Main Southern Railway.
The siding was part of stage two of the hub project, with stage three working to create a $29.2 million, 60-hectare industrial subdivision, jointly funded by the NSW government and Wagga City Council.
The completed hub will be able to service freight between trains more than 1800 metres long and the larger classes of semi trailer trucks to offer more efficient and competitive freight options for the region.
An adjacent business park and nearby Bomen Special Activation precinct will offer large industrial lots and fast planning approvals to attract new businesses.
Wagga mayor Greg Conkey said the multi-stage RiFL project with funding from the council and the state and federal governments was on time and on budget.
"Over the next 10 to 20 years there will be 6000 jobs created out here. Stage three of the project is the business park out here. It's a huge development, one of the biggest the city has had," Cr Conkey said.
"It's been a lot of hard work over many years, starting in 2007."
The council has a commercial partnership with Visy Logistics to operate and manage the RiFL Hub freight terminal and master siding.
Visy Logistics Australia country manager Lee Schmelich said it was "incredibly exciting" to see rail siding completed and the company planned to relocate its rail freight operation from the Tumut paper mill.
"The volume of movement coming in and out of here is going to secure it for the future, a lot of jobs, a lot of opportunity," he said.
Independent Wagga MP Joe McGirr said RiFL would enable Wagga to diversify its economy.
"With this sort of development, we can future-proof our region. It's about making sure that we can grow and our children have jobs and a future here," he said.
Wagga-based Nationals MLC Wes Fang said the hub was expected to be completed in late 2022.
"The NSW government has been very strong in its support of Wagga and what we are seeing here is another example of that," Mr Fang said.
"We're looking forward to seeing [RiFL] play its role in supporting the Special Activation Precinct, which the NSW government is committed to for this region to grow jobs and investment."