ARTC Inland Rail takes residence in Moree

“Moree has never looked better”


Katrina Humphries has been the Mayor of Moree for 13 years and has seen a variety of external factors affect the community. “I’ve had an interesting turn as mayor. As I came in at the start of my tenure as mayor, we were right in the middle of the global financial crisis, then we had a flood, and then another flood. Then we had the start of a stinking drought, the bypass added out of town which was a good thing, more drought and the mother of all droughts, the start of COVID, another flood, then we had the second wave of COVID,” she said. But Moree “has never looked better” since the arrival of the ARTC Inland Rail.

Full alignment map (Tina Reed)


The Australian Government manages and maintains an 8500km rail network across Australia through the Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC). ARTC has been developing its latest project, Inland Rail. The construction on Inland Rail began in 2018 and is under development, expected to be completed in 2026. The reason why this project is so time-consuming is because the Inland Rail is designed to be a 1700km freight rail line that will connect Melbourne to Brisbane via regional Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland.

Over this period of construction, ARTC will continue to set up offices based in different regional locations. Construction on the Narrabri to North Star section began at the start of 2021, after ARTC set up an office in Moree, New South Wales.

Moree is a small regional town in North-Western NSW. A project this large has understandably made an impact on resident’s way of life. Katrina believes that the relocation of Inland Rail employees to Moree has increased the town’s population by a significant amount. “Inland Rail is a long ongoing project, so we’ve been preparing for it for some time now. We’re looking forward to getting the census results, I believe there has been an increase in population. We know there are about 140 extra people up the main street, and they’re bringing their families to join them.”

Overall, Katrina has nothing but praise for the employment and business opportunities that the Inland Rail project has brought to Moree. “The staff are incredibly professional to deal with. There is so much vibrancy up the main street now. A lot of people are in the cafes, and vacant shops are being filled,” she said.

Inland Rail employees are not only taking up residence in the town of Moree, but the whole shire. “There’s been benefits for other smaller communities in the Moree shire as well. A few of the employees have gotten to like the village of Pallamallawa and are looking at moving there permanently with their families,” she said.

ARTC are equal employers and have been giving young people an opportunity to get a start in the world of employment. “There is an opportunity for employment that we haven’t seen out here before. When people put on their resume that they’ve worked at Inland Rail, it’s a real feather in their cap because they’ve been part of a very strict regime,” Katrina said.

One concern for residents has been that the increase in population will influence town resources such as medical services. “We’ve had some ongoing issues with doctors for quite some time, so the shortage of doctors isn’t due to Inland Rail. They bring their own medical professionals with them to each town they relocate to,” Katrina said.

When the project moves on, there are worries that all the benefits Inland Rail has brought with them to Moree will disappear. “There will be an impact on small businesses and things like that, but Moree’s vibe will keep thumping along. We have experienced so much in the last two decades and we always bounce back.”


Kelly Atkins also agrees with Katrina Humphries, that Inland Rail is a huge project that’s providing plenty of benefits to Moree, but not without impacting the town. “I’ve been working in Real Estate in Moree since 1986… so I know the area really well,” she said.

Kelly is the Principal and Licensee Real Estate Agent of Raine & Horne in Moree. Having been in the industry for over three decades, Kelly has seen a lot of trends in the market and has a great appreciation for the area. “I’m passionate about Moree, it’s a wonderful community to have grown up in, to live and work,” she said.

Undoubtedly, there has been a change in the Moree real estate market since the arrival of Inland Rail. “I started to notice changes in the market at the beginning of the year,” Kelly said.

As Moree is a town that has experienced the worst of drought, it is usually very difficult to rent out houses, let alone receive offers on properties for sale. “When Inland Rail relocated to Moree, we went from one extreme to the other. The market in Moree at present is, I believe, the most buoyant I can recall in nearly four decades in the industry with strong competition from buyers,” she said.

Due to the ongoing effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, interest rates are low and staying low. “In the current climate of low interest rates, it is, in most instances, more cost-effective to buy as opposed to paying rent.”

However, due to the employees of Inland Rail only planning on staying till the project relocates, a lot of people aren’t looking to buy property, despite there being public concern regarding this. “Inland Rail isn’t buying houses, they were very conscious of not saturating the demand in country towns. Senior management takes up the private rental market, and the majority of employees reside in the accommodation village at the gateway,” she said.


Isabella O’Neile, a local 18-year-old has been working for Inland Rail since May 2021.

One of the positives of this project is that ARTC has been providing full-time work for anybody who wants it. “Before Inland Rail, I was working at Moree Coles. I finished year 12 in 2020 and was working there while going to school for a little bit of extra money. When I finished school, I didn’t have many hours during the week. I really wanted a long-term job,” Isabella said.

“I had a friend in Human Resources, and she told me that there was a job going at Inland Rail, and they wanted someone young that they could mould. I gave her my resume and a week later they gave me a call,”

Inland Rail has a variety of jobs on offer that can suit anybody’s skill set and experience. “Most of my work is office-based, I do go out to the field sometimes, but not as much as I’d like to just yet.

“My title is Safety and Training Administrator. Technically I haven’t learnt a lot just yet. I’m on six month’s probation, so in December I’ll sit down with my bosses and supervisors to have a chat and see how it’s all going,” she said.

One of the perks of Inland Rail is that it is an ongoing project, and employees won’t be out of work unless they wish to be. “There are so many dates floating around about when Inland Rail will be finished, but my contract of employment doesn’t have an end date. If I want, I can go with them to the next project, and if I want to stay here, I can do that to,” she said.

Isabella loves the work environment that ARTC has provided through the Inland Rail project. “Overall, it’s an amazing job. It’s great that they’ve come to Moree. Not many other opportunities were going for work at the time, they try and hire as many locals as possible and give the young ones a chance. It’s just like a big family there.”