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FOUR Inland Rail Community Consultative Committees will meet for the first time this week, following a commitment by the Government and the Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC).
Following a nomination process, and consultation with the local Members of Parliament and community leaders, independent chairs have been appointed to the committees of up to 16 members:
Chair of the Inner Darling Downs Committee, Professor Raine established University of Southern Queensland (USQ) Agricultural Value Chains Research Group, and was the USQ lead in partnering with Toowoomba and Surat Enterprises (TSBE) to establish Food Leaders Australia - to develop the export of value added product to Asia.
He was appointed the inaugural executive director of the USQ Institute for Agriculture and the Environment in 2013.
Heading up the Southern Darling Downs Committee, Mr Clapham has experience in irrigation and broader agriculture, being a long term farmer in the Southern Darling Downs.
He has extensive experience as a company chair and as a director of the peak industry body Central Downs Irrigators Limited.
He Chaired the Floodplain Committee, which dealt with local law and regulation on any floodplain developments.
Federal Minister for Infrastructure and Transport, Darren Chester said the committees would be another channel for direct feedback and information sharing between landholders, local businesses, residents and the ARTC.
"ARTC has delivered on my commitment to establish Inland Rail Community Consultative Committees for greenfield projects in Queensland before the end of 2017," Mr Chester said.
"With over 120 nominations received for membership of the committees, I want to thank community members for their continued participation and passion for the iconic Inland Rail project.
"I expect the ARTC to listen closely to the feedback of these committees who will bring important local experience to the development of the final alignment and design which will mitigate impacts on farms and the environment, including on the Condamine floodplain."
ARTC Inland Rail division chief executive officer Peter Winder said ARTC was committed to extensive landholder and community consultation.
"I've spent a lot of time in Queensland, particularly over the last couple of months, talking directly with landowners. What I hear over and over is that people recognise the huge benefits that Inland Rail can bring to their regions," Mr Winder said.
"ARTC is focused on designing the best possible project and contributing to the vitality of communities where Inland Rail operates, so it is vital to have as much community input as possible to achieve that."
The geographically-based committees will focus on the Inland Rail projects in their local area, with committee members gathering and disseminating information throughout their community and then presenting those views to the committee.
Observers are welcome at committee meetings and registrations are recommended. Committees are expected to meet on a quarterly basis.
The first meeting of the Inner Darling Downs Committee is tonight at the Pittsworth Function Centre between 6-8pm.
For more information about the committees, including their make-up and meeting minutes visit: Inlandrail.com.au or call: 1800 732 761.
This article first appeared on www.thechronicle.com.au
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