THE proposed Inland Rail line could run straight between Gulargambone district farmers David and Cath Peart’s home and machinery shed, which are just 300 metres apart.
They are one of many farming families directly affected by the proposed greenfield route shown to NSW Farmers president, James Jackson, last week during his tour of affected farmers.
“We first heard of the Inland Rail back in 2011, and the proposed route was outlined to us in more detail in 2015 at a Gilgandra meeting,” David Peart said.
“The house we had lived in since 2001 needed to be replaced. Our new house has been built on exactly where the old one was, as this was where water, power, and all-weather road access is situated.
“Moving power would have been prohibitively expensive. Of course, we don’t want our home and infrastructure to be divided by a railway line, but we had no real options.”
Mr Jackson said the house project demonstrated how people in these regions have had to put their lives on hold or risk the consequences as the details of the project emerged.
The Pearts operate a grain growing enterprise on the 750-hectare Tondeburine, and the rail proposal diagonally transects the property, cutting three cropping paddocks into six triangles.
To access one section, the Pearts would have to travel an extra six kilometres around the rail line, as they were told by Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC) officials that crossings would be unlikely on their property.
The Pearts said they had not signed an access agreement with ARTC.
“They came to meet us regarding land access and we asked for a lot more information,” Mrs Peart said.
“They never got back to us with the information we requested and we are still waiting for the promised minutes of our meeting.”
Mr Peart said many properties in the Curban/Gulargambone area were split into soldier settlement blocks after the Second World War and the densely populated area is rich, productive farmland.
“The benefits of the Inland Rail are being touted, but will the loss of productivity of severed farms be considered?” the Pearts asked.
“Will there be a multi-criteria analysis considering these issues?
“A railway line transecting our property will cause three major impacts, the loss of productivity and efficiencies, the substantial devaluation of our farm as a whole, and the destruction of the liveability of our home.
“With an existing rail line nearby, we are not yet convinced the sacrifices that are being forced on landholders are justified.”