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RESIDENTS of Algester, Boronia Heights, Forestdale and Hillcrest are bracing for a bitter fight to get environmental impact studies conducted on a freight train line running through their suburbs.
Battle lines were drawn last week, when residents were told official environmental impact studies had not been ordered for a section of the Inland Rail which runs through southern Logan suburbs.
Logan City councillor Laurie Smith said he was concerned the Federal Government-backed track developer, the Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC), had not planned environmental studies to gauge the impacts of the coal freight line.
Back row: Geoff Morgan, Greg Broad, Barry Martin, Mathew Miles, Margaret Miles and Robert Stack. Middle row: Gary Hall, Deslie Broad, Jennifer Wade, Laurie Smith, Barbara King. Front Row: Lachlan Martin, Connor Martin and Steven Benyon.He said it was the only Queensland section of the 1700km track not to be guaranteed an impact study under government gazettal.
“The State Government has gazetted that the ARTC will carry out environmental impact studies in the other three sections of the rail but not from Kagaru to Acacia Ridge, which has the heaviest population density,” Cr Smith said. “When are they going to gazette it and why wasn’t it gazetted with the rest of the track?”
Transport Minister Jackie Trad said only the ARTC could trigger the process for impact studies.
“This project is squarely with the ARTC at the moment,” she said. “For the EIS process to be triggered, the ARTC has to make an application to the Coordinator-General to make the section a co-ordinated project.
“This hasn’t happened yet for this section of the project, while other parts of the project have been declared after the ARTC applied to the Queensland Government. We are not satisfied with the work being undertaken on the Inland Rail project to date.”
Transport Minister Darren Chester. Picture: AAPIn a letter to Logan City Council this month, federal Transport Minister Darren Chester promised the ARTC would undertake a comprehensive environmental study commensurate with an impact study.
An ARTC spokesman said the would prepare and publish a detailed environmental assessment of the Kagaru to Acacia Ridge-Bromelton section of the track early next year.
“These studies, including noise and dust monitoring, will inform mitigation measures in the design,” the spokesman said.
“The design will be approved by Transport and Main Roads before enhancements commence.”
“ARTC was delighted to welcome more than 300 people to our community information sessions in July 2017 including council representatives and MPs who we have briefed several times over the past 18-months regarding the environmental requirements.”
This article first appeared on www.couriermail.com.au
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