Federal minister for infrastructure and transport Mr Darren Chester said the contracts were awarded in a competitive process for work on four sections of the project in the states of New South Wales and Victoria.

The consultancies will support the ongoing approvals process, environmental investigations and engineering design for each project.

The contracts announced comprise:
- Parkes - Narromine (New South Wales): WSP Australia and Mott MacDonald Australia ($A 10m)
- Narrabri - North Star (New South Wales): WSP Australia and Mott MacDonald Australia ($A 13m)
- Tottenham (Victoria) to Illabo (New South Wales): Kellogg Brown & Root ($A 6m), and
- Stockinbingal - Parkes (New South Wales) $A 500,000: Lycopodium Infrastructure.

The Parkes Narromine and Narrabi - North Star contracts will see the detailed design finalised, taking these sections to the construction phase. On the other sections the contracts formally begin the design process.

Further contracts are due to be awarded in the coming months for sections in New South Wales and Queensland.