Qld's Inland Rail review

But only for Queensland's floodplain


News of Queensland's Inland Rail review has sparked outcry in NSW for equal treatment for greenfield sites.


THE $10-billion Inland Rail route, part of which runs across south-east Queensland, will be reviewed.

The announcement came on Tuesday after the government bowed to community pressure - but only in Queensland.

The current route crosses 16 kilometres of the Condamine floodplain with multiple bridges, banks and culverts, which many say will drastically change water flows across the region, risking properties and lives.

The federal government asked the Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC) to investigate a route further west, which would require only 6km of floodplain crossing.

"I have asked for an immediate review of the forestry route against the selected route to assess its ability to meet the business case requirements such as transit time, reliability, cost competitiveness and availability," Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack said.

"The purpose of this review is to reassure the community that all potential routes have been duly and thoroughly considered."

Agriculture Minister and Maranoa MP David Littleproud, a vocal critic of the proposed route through his electorate, said he had "serious issues" around the hydrology.

"[ARTC] predicated it without having an engineering solution to going across one of the most complex floodplains in Australia."

Mr Littleproud said this could hold up the entire 1700km development.

"We are going headlong into a long-term legal battle through the court that will hold up Inland Rail," he said.

News of the review has stirred concerns south of the border too, with NSW Farmers Inland Rail Taskforce chair Adrian Lyons saying NSW greenfield sites also deserved an independent review.

"In light of NSW Farmers' apprehension, we have approached the Deputy Premier and relevant ministers to have inclusions before the EIS (environmental impact statement) is submitted by the ARTC to include local flood knowledge, social impact and economic justification.

"There is particular concern around the Macintyre floodplain in northern NSW and it has been suggested that an embankment along Whalan Creek will redirect flows north into the Macintyre River, generating an increased flood risk for landholders along the floodplain and communities of Toomelah, Boggabilla and Goondiwindi."


From the front page

Sponsored by