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Inland rail a trifecta for Toowoomba region: mayor
The developer of the proposed inland railway between Melbourne and Brisbane has criticised the lack of support it received from the Federal Government's AusLink package.
Under AusLink, released on Monday, the Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC) will spend $57 million on improvements to the rail line between Cootamundra, which is halfway between Melbourne and Sydney, and Werris Creek in the Hunter Valley.
It is part of AusLink's $1.8 billion rail package. The Minister for Transport and Regional Services, John Anderson, said AusLink and the ARTC lease of the NSW interstate rail system opened the way for the private sector to build the inland rail route from Melbourne to Brisbane.
The developer, Australian Transport Energy Corridor, welcomed AusLink's recognition of the inland project but criticised the level of funding.
ATEC chairman Everald Compton said his group had always maintained that it was a private-enterprise project. "But private enterprise shouldn't have to pay for the sins of past governments," he said.
Mr Compton said the NSW inland track was in bad condition. "There has been a lack of maintenance. We should be responsible for general maintenance, but governments have let bridges almost fall over," he said.
ATEC aims to build a standard-gauge line between Melbourne and Gladstone, with a branch line from Toowoomba to Brisbane, at an estimated cost of $2 billion.
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