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NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment
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Frequently asked questions

  • Inland Rail is a freight rail connection between Brisbane and Melbourne being delivered by the Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC) on behalf of the Australian Government.
  • The route will be approximately 1,700 kilometres in length – including over 1,000 kilometres of major upgrades and enhancements and over 500 kilometres of new track via regional Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland.
  • Inland Rail is divided into 13 sections, seven of which are in NSW. Each part will be assessed separately.

The proposed Narromine to Narrabri section of Inland Rail includes:

  • A new section of rail, approximately 300 kilometres in length, including new rail embankments and cuttings
  • Construction of about 260 culverts and underbridges
  • Construction of about 120 level crossings
  • Construction of around seven crossing loops
  • Construction of around five bridges
  • Junctions with existing rail lines to allow trains to travel between networks (where required).

The Department will independently assess the application based on the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), community feedback, council and agency submissions and ARTC’s Response to Submissions report.

The Commonwealth Department of Environment and Energy has determined the Narromine to Narrabri project to be a controlled action under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999. The project will be assessed under an accredited assessment process.

The Department has issued Secretary’s Environmental Assessment Requirements (SEARs) for the project. The SEARs outline the issues that ARTC’s Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) must assess. The SEARs are available on our Major Projects website.


ARTC is currently refining the project’s route and carrying out the required studies to feed into the EIS, in consultation with councils and relevant state government authorities and the community.

The Department held planning focus meetings in both Narromine and Narrabri which were attended by government agencies and all five relevant councils (Narrabri, Narromine, Warrumbungle, Gilgandra and Coonamble shires). Councils raised community concerns about the proposal.

The issues raised by government agencies and councils informed the Department’s preparation of the Secretary’s Environmental Assessment Requirements (SEARs). The SEARs guide ARTC’s preparation of the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) which assesses the proposal’s construction and operational impacts.

The SEARs also respond to issues raised in correspondence received by the Department from concerned local community members. These include the potential socio-economic impacts to landowners and rural communities, community engagement, property severance, the route selection process and the final alignment. The SEARs were issued to ARTC on 28 September 2018.

Prior to exhibition of the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS):

The SEARs require ARTC to consult with local councils, businesses, affected landowners and the community during the development of the proposal. The community has the opportunity to provide their views and comments to ARTC on the proposal during the preparation of the EIS through the contact details provided on the ARTC website.


ARTC has also advised it will soon commence Community Consultative Committee meetings as part of its community engagement for the Narromine to Narrabri proposal. The Department has appointed an independent chair for the committees, who will facilitate meetings between ARTC, appointed Council, stakeholder and community representatives. The Community Consultative Committees application process is now closed. It is expected that meetings will commence before the end of 2018.


During exhibition of the Environmental Impact Statement:

When ARTC submits the EIS, the Department will publicly exhibit it for a minimum of 28 days.


During the exhibition period the community is encouraged to provide their feedback via formal submission. This feedback helps us better understand the opinions and concerns of the community, which informs our assessment of the project.

  • Now the Department has issued the SEARs to ARTC, they will prepare and lodge an EIS.
  • Once the EIS is lodged, the Department will publicly exhibit the EIS and consult with local councils, government agencies, other key stakeholders and the community.
  • Following exhibition, the Department will publish all submissions received and ask ARTC to address any issues raised by the community, council and government agencies.
  • ARTC will prepare a Response to Submissions (RtS) report, which should address concerns or issues raised by the community, councils or government agencies during public exhibition. The Department will publish the RtS on the major projects website. The Department may require ARTC to prepare a Preferred Infrastructure Report (PIR) if changes to the proposal are made.
  • The Department will independently assess the application based on the EIS, community, council and government agency submissions and the RtS, and make a recommendation to the Minister for Planning for determination.

To learn more about Inland Rail, you can:

Page last updated: 21/05/2019