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South-east Queensland residents angered by a perceived lack of information and consultation about the planned route of the $9.3 billion Inland Rail will have a chance to speak to a Senate inquiry into the project this week.
The Melbourne-Brisbane inland freight rail route will slice through south-east Queensland floodplains near Toowoomba and take up to 45 trains a day through Logan suburbs before ending at Acacia Ridge in Brisbane's south.
The Melbourne to Brisbane Inland Rail project will enable freight to be moved between the capital cities within 24 hours.
In September last year management of the project by the Australian Rail Track Corporation was referred to the Senate Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport References Committee for inquiry, with two hearings scheduled in Millmerran and Brisbane next week.
An open microphone session is set for Millmerran on the afternoon of January 29.
In November it emerged at Senate Estimates that consultants were paid $200,000 to help develop an empathetic approach to residents affected by the route between Melbourne and Brisbane.
Late last year the inquiry received submissions from south-east Queensland councils, organisations and individual residents complaining there was no consultation about the planned route before it was announced.
Port of Brisbane chief executive Roy Cummins submitted that while he supported the project in principle, ending the route at Acacia Ridge, more than 30 kilometres from the port, would force more heavy trucks onto the roads.
Mr Cummins said the Port also had concerns about the "considerable time advantage held by other states", as work on the project had begun in NSW but not in Queensland.
"The obvious complexity of the Queensland section, as well as the lack of agreement (until recently) between the state and federal governments, has meant Queensland will be years behind," he wrote.
Under a joint federal and state funding agreement in November, it was agreed that a business case would be developed to link the rail line to the Port of Brisbane.
This article first appeared on www.brisbanetimes.com.au
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