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More than $400 million has been spent so far by the Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC) with about $100 million of that spent on track work, but the NSW Farmers Association is calling for a halt on negotiations over the route.
They say the ARTC has ignored landholder concerns and an inquiry is needed to find out why.
The matter has come up in Senate Estimates this week where ARTC chief executive John Fullerton was asked why an option favoured by landholders in the Coonamble area was dropped from consideration.
He replied that money and time were considerations.
The inland rail project will be for freight, not passengers.
(ABC News: Alexandra Blucher)
Adrian Lyons, head of the NSW Farmers inland rail committee, said the ARTC had the numbers wrong.
"We called them on this because they're not putting the economic justification in there, they have not completed a socio-economic valuation correctly, because it's been done by engineers," Mr Lyons said.
Confusion in the communityLandholder Cath Peart from Tooraweenah believed the ARTC's surveys were questionable because they had not been given access to many properties.
"When they come to ask us for access we asked for a lot more information [and] we didn't get any answers from them," she said.
"If they're not getting access to properties to do testing then how can those surveys be valid?"
Tension on the track
The Melbourne-to-Brisbane inland rail line is touted as a nation-building infrastructure project that will bring huge benefits to the bush. But the $10 billion venture won't save all the dying, tiny towns along its route.
Mr Lyons said errors had come to light in the Senate hearings, including a mistake allegedly made by former minister Darren Chester when he signed a brief with an incorrect map of the proposed study area that referenced the wrong preferred corridor.
Mr Lyons said that caused confusion in the community and he believed political considerations were affecting the way decisions were being made about the project.
Mr Lyons called on the NSW National leader, John Barilaro, to use his influence to get his Federal colleagues to address landholder concerns.
"John Barilaro told a NSW Farmers forum in Dubbo that there are 'barnacles' on this project and that the Federal Government has to sort this out," he said.
"If the Government in Canberra won't take action then we will turn to the NSW Government to ensure they use their planning powers to demand changes to this project."
Meanwhile the rail project has reached another milestone with the construction company INLink (a joint venture between BMD Group and Fulton Hogan) taking possession of the existing track between Goonumbla to Narwonah, just outside Parkes.
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The company is upgrading the existing rail infrastructure to prepare for heavier, longer freight trains that will make the journey from Melbourne to Brisbane when inland rail becomes operational.
Colin Forde, project director of the Parkes to Narromine section, said about 60 workers were in the area.
"There will be many more staged possessions as the project progresses to enable workers to carry out construction in the rail corridor," he said.
In December last year work commenced on 5.3 kilometres of the North-West Connection, which will join the existing Broken Hill line to the existing rail track south of Henry Parkes Way.
This article first appeared on www.abc.net.au
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