Narrabri's massive Inland Port Project could be the most substantial industrial and logistics site on the inland rail route after the state government on Tuesday announced it would help finance the scheme.
With the support of an approved Narrabri Gas Project, the hub could even be declared part of a state government special activation precinct, like the $184 million Parkes rail hub, the Deputy Premier announced on Tuesday.
Narrabri Mayor Cathy Redding told the Leader the industrial precinct project isn't dependent on the $3.6 billion mining scheme.
"The approval for Santos, if it comes through, is really our ace in our hand. It will provide a diversity of industry that is not available without gas," she said.
"The potential of that approval just gives us that advantage, probably over any other industrial and logistics site in NSW."
But Deputy Premier John Barilaro said the 850 coal seam gas well project outside Narrabri, which is currently before the Independent Planning Commission, would turn a major project into a massive one.
"With special activation precincts you need a big catalyst project," he said.
"I believe it's got merits for a special activation precinct, let's just wait for the Santos decision. I think the Santos decision will give us an idea what this area would look like if gas is approved.
"There's a whole heap of energy businesses that actually want to come here [if the CSG project is built]. This precinct could actually double, triple, quadruple in size. You could easily do a special activation precinct.
"If the gas doesn't happen there's still an argument here for a special activation precinct, but we just need to work that out once that decision's made."
Mr Barilaro travelled to Northern NSW to make three major project funding announcements.
The state government will underwrite stage one of the inland rail scheme to the tune of $16.8 million.
He also announced the state would pour $9.45 million into new laboratories at the IA Watson Research Centre, at Narrabri. The funding will help to develop a new International Crop and Digital Agriculture Research Centre outside the town, set to create 40 new research positions.
The Deputy Premier also announced a major upgrade to the Gunnedah saleyards.
Cr Redding said the state government funding gives Narrabri shire "the surety that this project is going ahead".
She said the inland rail scheme "gives a certainty to the future of the Narrabri shire and the future is going to be very bright."
The inland port is expected to create 1000 jobs on its own.