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Farmers along the $14.5bn Inland Rail line as it crosses the Condamine flood plain are still hopeful alternate routes will be looked at as a result of an environmental-impact statement process.
Speaking to media yesterday ahead of the 5pm closure of the public submissions period for the Border to Gowrie leg of the project, Millmerran Rail Group chairman Wes Judd said there had been a “massive effort” to put in detailed submissions to the entity in charge of the process, Queensland’s Co-ordinator General.
“It’s been a time consuming effort on a lot of individuals’ parts and at a huge cost, I might add,” he said.
Mr Judd said there were a “huge number” of submissions that had gone in, for which he was thankful.
“There’s major businesses out there who have gone to a lot of trouble to make sure they’ve got a very detailed submission and have highlighted the issues … throughout the process prior to now,” he said.
For five years now, Mr Judd and the Millmerran Rail Group have been fighting to have issues around the rail line’s crossing of the flood plain recognised by the Federal Government and the Australian Rail Track Corporation.
“I think the Co-ordinator General has got an unenviable task to try and deal with this,” he said.
“There are a lot of issues there that are involved with this from government and an entity point of view that just think we’ll deal with them along the way.
“But they’re not trivial issues, they’re major, and there’s still a lot of outstanding issues in relation to hydrology obviously and water and flood.”
Australian Rail Track Corporation has repeatedly said it has confidence in its flood modelling and hydrology.
How the rail line will transect good agricultural land was another “substantive” issue, Mr Judd said, adding that a review of the route was still his group’s goal.
“We’re still hopeful that one of the alternative lines might be looked at as a result of this process,” he said.
This article first appeared on www.thechronicle.com.au
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