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Urban rail news in brief - July 2015
Inland rail a trifecta for Toowoomba region: mayor
Farmers impacted by the $10 billion inland rail project connecting Brisbane and Melbourne are looking forward to more rigorous consultation with the Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC).
The government-owned ARTC is the construction agency heading up the re-alignment of the 1,700-kilometre interstate freight corridor.
So far it has spoken to more than 1,000 farmers, property-owners and community members affected by the project's 600 kilometres of new track, including Adrian Lyons from Coonamble in the NSW central west.
He feels the ARTC has gone about consulting with farmers the wrong way.
"Most people found the meeting very vague, they told us it was early days, but they came up with three dates," he said.
"We're scared of the dates.
"They haven't done any surveys, haven't done hydrology, environment and [biodiversity].
"If they decide to move that line, they you divide a town and community, we want the best line that can possibly be built and we want the process to be right."
Further consultation on the way: ARTCThe alignment refinement process includes areas between Illabo and Stockinbingal in southern NSW and between Narromine and Narrabri, the project's single-largest greenfields site.
There is also future work between Northstar and the Queensland border and a range of works throughout Queensland.
Head of community engagement with the ARTC's inland rail program, Kirsty O'Connell, said further consultation would be rolled out in the coming months and engineering and hydrology studies are on their way.
"I certainly wouldn't say that there's anything unusual or anything to be concerned about," she said.
"In fact, I think communities have responded in a really positive way to the project and they're sharing information that's really useful to us."
Wayne Dunford with the National Farmers Federation Infrastructure Taskforce said the ARTC needs to keep an open mind on the rail route.
"We've got to get all the planets aligned without upsetting farmers," he said.
"Sad to say, that's already happened because of the way they've gone about it.
"It's not only got to go through their land, but there's got to be stock access, large machinery access, which are major issues and have to be very well handled."
This article first appeared on www.abc.net.au
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