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Inland rail a trifecta for Toowoomba region: mayor
The Federal Agriculture Minister has given short thrift to the push to change the proposed inland rail route through the Riverina.
The Brisbane to Melbourne freight route is proposed to go via Wagga Wagga and Albury.
Councils from Narrandera to Shepparton say it should be further west.
I want to make sure that our focus is getting the funds available for the construction of the inland rail. Once all the funds are there then we can have further discussions about alternate paths.
Federal Agriculture Minister, Barnaby Joyce
They are pushing for new research into the route saying there has been a billion dollars investment in the region since the last economic study in 2010.
Barnaby Joyce says the inland rail line is the most logical project that should be done nationally, but securing funding is the priority.
"The best thing is to get the inland rail built," he said.
"The worst outcome is no inland rail is built.
"There's only one thing worse than that, is no inland rail is built, because we have everybody coming up with different ideas of different paths they want it to take."
The so called 'Food Bowl Inland Rail Alliance' group met yesterday with the Australian Rail Track Corporation about the track's route, on which construction is supposed to start this year.
Mr Joyce says his focus is on securing money to build the line before any further debate on the route.
"I want to make sure that our focus is getting the funds available for the construction of the inland rail," he said.
"Once all the funds are there then we can have further discussions about alternate paths.
"But if we focus on an argument that we're going to have prior to getting all the funds on the table, then I think we're just going to do ourselves a disservice.
"I want to make it look like we've got a completely unified purpose and that this is the most logical thing that should be done in our nation.
"Otherwise I'll have people saying 'What about A what about B?'," he said.
"Let's concentrate first and foremost about attracting the funds so that this thing is built, so that ultimately we can connect Brisbane to Melbourne through this region, to create a corridor of commerce to the benefit of all."
This article first appeared on www.abc.net.au
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