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FARMERS and rural communities are becoming openly hostile to the $10 billion Inland Rail project as uncertainty continues over its final route and funding, according to the Opposition.
Labor infrastructure spokeswoman Catherine King will today tell the Inland Rail Conference in Toowoomba the project is at a “critical point in its planning and construction time frame”.
Farmers and rural communities are becoming increasingly concerned about the $10 billion Inland Rail project.“As you’re all aware in some parts of the route farmers and affected communities have become openly hostile to Inland Rail,” she will say.
“Just in the past few weeks we’ve seen farmer against farmer and community against community in regards to a project that if delivered properly would be a positive for their regions and the nation as a whole.”
Labor backs the 1700km link between Brisbane and Melbourne but Ms King will say there are increasing concerns about planning and financing arrangements.
Former deputy prime minister Barnaby Joyce visited the site of the first steel delivery of the inland rail project at Peak Hill, NSW, in 2017. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen“Since the election, there continues to be tensions within and between communities along the route, but we are not seeing any evidence that the Federal Government is engaging in a meaningful way to address the issues,” she says.
She will call for the Morrison Government to address questions about the project’s controversial funding model, under which an “off budget” $8.4 billion equity injection is set to be repaid once it is making a commercial return.
“The Government’s own implementation report, chaired by former Nationals Deputy Prime Minister John Anderson, concluded that won’t happen for at least 50 years,” she will say.
Concerns have been raised in three states about the route and the failure to include dedicated links to ports in Brisbane and Melbourne.
This article first appeared on www.couriermail.com.au
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