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A key backer of the lnland Rail project says there is "no valid reason" to repeat the turning of the sod on the $9.3 billion Melbourne to Brisbane line.
Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack is expected to attend an event in Parkes on Thursday which has been flagged as "turning the first sod" on the project.
However, long-time promoter of the project Everald Compton wrote on his Facebook site that no new tracks were being built at Parkes and the north-south railway running through there had been operating for a century, with upgrades over the past two decades.
"Even more odd is that McCormack appears to have overlooked the fact that an equivalent ceremony was held in 2001 when the then Deputy Prime Minister John Anderson and I drove a spike into the ground on the Queensland/New South Wales Border at Goondiwindi to commemorate the decision of the Howard Government to proceed with the project," Mr Compton said.
"There is a large stone and a plaque beside the Macintyre River that commemorates the event and records our names.
"There is no valid reason to do it again, particularly at a place where the railway already exists. But, it is politically logical as Parkes is in the north of McCormack's own electorate."
Mr Compton said he had declined an invitation to attend, having been critical of the "shabby" treatment of farmers in the choice of the rail corridor, but hoped "something positive" came out of the ceremony.
The Parkes-to-Narromine section, which is expected to create around 200 jobs, is one of 13 projects forming the 1700km Inland Rail line.
Inland Rail is the largest freight rail infrastructure project in Australia, with the aim of operating in 2024/25.
This article first appeared on www.news.com.au
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