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IT is crunch time for the Inland Rail, with landholders saying routes across either the Condamine River floodplain east of Millmerran or through the Felton Valley must be ruled out.
Instead, a new route must be decided: Likely to be either the existing rail corridor to near Warwick and across to Gowrie, or a relatively low impact route across forest country on the western side of the Condamine floodplain.
The crunch will come at meeting in Sydney late on Tuesday afternoon when affected landholders led by Millmerran Rail Group chairman Wes Judd will demand Nationals leader Michael McCormack and deputy Nationals leader David Littleproud rule out either option.
Federal Member for Groom, John McVeigh, Senator Susan McDonald, and Federal Member for Parkes, Mark Coulton, are also expected to attend the meeting.
Mr Judd said the Australian Rail Track Corporation's proposal to build the Border to Gowrie section of the Melbourne to Brisbane inland rail project across the Condamine River floodplain was in disarray due to ARTC's own concessions of flawed flood modeling.
The meeting is also expected to hear from independent hydrologist Dr Sharmil Marker, who says he has identified major flaws in ARTC's modeling.
"Landholders have been telling the ARTC and the Australian Government for years that the route selection was flawed and flooding would be exacerbated if ARTC followed through with its plan," Mr Judd said.
"This meeting is critical. Our lives and our livelihoods are on hold. We want answers, not excuses.
"We hope this week's meeting will categorically rule out the Condamine River floodplains routes.
"We believe the Yelarbon to Gowrie route options via Millmerran and Mt Tyson or via Karara, Leyburn and Felton are too risky."
Mr Judd said ARTC has had years to get the planning of the Inland Rail route right.
"Only when local landholders and the advice of hydrological experts, engaged by local landholders, showed them the flaws and exposed them to the Senate Inquiry has ARTC admitted fault," Mr Judd said.
"To continue with the proposed route would be an unmitigated disaster, expose Queenslanders to unnecessary risk and expose the Federal Government to unnecessary class actions."
This article first appeared on www.queenslandcountrylife.com.au
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