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Former Deputy Prime Minister Warren Truss has been appointed Chair of the Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC) which oversees planning for the inland rail.
Goondiwindi Regional Council Mayor, Cr Graeme Scheu couldn’t be happier about the decision.
The announcement of Truss’ appointment came at a meeting in Warwick attended by Cr Scheu last week.
“It is great news,” Cr Scheu said.
“Especially for those of us that are somewhat frustrated by the processes implemented under ARTC to date.
“Unfortunately, very little is known about ARTC in Queensland and it may as well be Billy Smith doing the promotion.
“I hope that now with Warren Truss as chair, we will be able to get some clarity back into discussions.
“Warren is a very strong supporter of Inland Rail, just like me,” Cr Scheu said.
“He understands the workings of the Queensland system. I look forward to renewing our conversations once his appointment takes place.
The Goondiwindi Regional Council has a number of sticking points over the Inland Rail.
They are the proposed route across the NSW floodplain adjoining Goondiwindi and its the “lack” of detail”.
Council also has a preferred route from Whetstone to Millmerran through forestry which it believse will have less impact on landowners and it also wants more details about access to the Port of Brisbane.
He says inaction and debate over the route in Queensland threatens the project.
“The Inland Rail is much too important to lose altogether and the way things are shaping, that is exactly what will occur.
“All of our agricultural freight will go south as the majority of that section is underway,” he said.
Acting Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Michael McCormack said Mr Truss would bring experience and energy overseeing the Australian Government owned interstate rail network company.
“As a former Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Mr Truss was a driving force in the delivery of significant Australian Government infrastructure investments, including the early funding for Inland Rail,” Mr McCormack said.
“Mr Truss brings a wealth of experience to ARTC with knowledge of the complexity in Australia's growing freight and passenger task, leadership in the delivery major infrastructure projects and a strong understanding of regional Australia.”
Minister for Finance Mathias Cormann said he was looking forward to again working with Mr Truss, who has been appointed to the role for the next three years.
“ARTC manages the nation's interstate network and is responsible for the delivery of the Inland Rail, to which the Australian Government has invested $9.3 billion, including $8.4 billion equity in the 2017–18 Budget,” the Minister said.
Minister Cormann said that with Mr Truss as Chair, ARTC will have a renewed focus on stakeholder engagement and delivery as we work towards construction this year.
For more information on ARTC, visit http://www.artc.com.au.
This article first appeared on www.goondiwindiargus.com.au
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