NSW Farmers is a passionate supporter of inland rail. It has the potential to fundamentally change the way farmers do business by reducing supply chain costs and opening up new markets for our food and fibre.
There is federal bipartisan support for this vital project and NSW Farmers is now seeking bipartisan support for more transparency on the preferred route chosen for the 307km long section of new railway between Narromine and Narrabri.
Labor has announced they would conduct an independent inquiry into the integrity and efficacy of the route selection process. We welcome this commitment and now urge the Coalition to also commit to an inquiry into the selection of greenfield route options.
NSW Farmers does not want to put the brakes on inland rail. There are sections of the project that use existing rail corridors where farmers and communities say the project is on the right track.
The Coalition believes moving the alignment will only create a different town hall of affected people, but they would be surprised to learn that existing corridors are widely supported.
NSW Farmers accepts that building a new railway line will result in impacts to farmers. However, there is no evidence that the ARTC has sought to minimise these impacts by using more existing rail corridors, nor have they given any justification as to why their preferred greenfield options are superior.
We are particularly troubled by the inability of the Australian government owned ARTC to provide data and modelling to support their selection of the Narromine to Narrabri route. More than 300 may be impacted along this route, with some farm businesses being split in half.
This project is vital for the future of agriculture in NSW, so it must be on the right track at the start.