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Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack has refused to answer questions about a review of an alternate Inland Rail alignment he commissioned.
On June 29, Mr McCormack requested Australian Rail Track Corporation review an alternate route for the Border to Gowrie section of the $10 billion project, comparing the government’s selected route through Millmerran, Yandilla and Brookstead to Wellcamp, against an alternative “forestry route” via Cecil Plains.
The review, released to the public earlier this month after being completed in September, found the Wellcamp route was both cheaper, by several hundred million dollars, and faster than two variations of the “forestry route”.
The review “did not assess or provide advice on the economic or engineering feasibility of the project, or which route alignment is preferred”.
The Chronicle asked the Deputy Prime Minister’s office whether Mr McCormack was comfortable with the review and its findings and if it was “full speed ahead on the government’s selected route?”
Mr McCormack did not wish to provide an official response, despite two requests.
It is expected that in the coming weeks, the Queensland Government will release the draft Environmental Impact Statement for the selected route for public exhibition.
Communities and other stakeholders will be encouraged to make submissions to the Office of the Co-ordinator-General detailing their concerns and other feedback.
Additionally, the independent International Panel of Experts for Flood Studies – established by the Government – is reviewing ARTC flood modelling and hearing directly from concerned stakeholders to ensure Inland Rail is fit for purpose.
The Panel is reviewing ARTC’s flood modelling and reference designs against the best practice for structural design in a flood plain environment, and providing advice to both governments.
Anyone with concerns about flood modelling or rail design in a flood plain environment can make a submission to the panel.
This article first appeared on www.thechronicle.com.au
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