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Southside Brisbane roads will be clogged with extra B-double trucks under the current route for Inland Rail, a Senate inquiry has been told.
Former Howard government minister Gary Hardgrave, who chairs a community consultation committee for Inland Rail, said there would be a tripling of trucks in Acacia Ridge, where the planned line would terminate, by 2050.
The $14.5 billion Inland Rail project began with a “sod turn” at Parkes, NSW, in December 2018.
“It will be devastating for southside Brisbane if the plan is just to terminate it all at Acacia Ridge because it’ll just put more and more trucks on local roads, which they’re not designed for,” Mr Hardgrave, the former federal Liberal member for Moreton, said.
“There’s certainly a very strong sentiment among many people that Acacia Ridge would have been the right termination point if this was 1920 but it’s 2021.
“To deliver the additional freight truck tasks onto southside roads would be devastating for the areas from Acacia Ridge to the Port of Brisbane, but it is the plan that the Queensland government has put forward.”
Inland Rail is a 1715-kilometre freight line that will connect Melbourne and Brisbane via regional Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland, including upgrades to 1100 kilometres of existing rail line and 600 kilometres of new track.
It is estimated it will create 16,000 jobs and inject more than $16 billion into the Australian economy.
Mr Hardgrave spoke in Brisbane before a Senate inquiry into the management of the inland rail project by the Australian Rail Track Corporation and the Commonwealth government.
The committee was told that each train that pulled up at Acacia Ridge would result in an extra 125 trucks on local roads.
Logan mayor Darren Power said Inland Rail would run through the areas of Hillcrest, Forestdale, Greenbank, Boronia Heights, Kagaru, Greater Flagstone and North Maclean.
Cr Power said there were currently eight trains running between Kagaru and Acacia Ridge per day, which would increase to 45 per day by 2040 with Inland Rail.
“It is clear the impact was significantly over and above what residents expected when they moved into the area,” he said.
“The increased noise will become unbearable for some residents along the line, many who are shift workers.
“Vibration and increased emissions are also areas of concerns for the community.
“These hard-working people have spent years tirelessly chipping away at their mortgage – their homes are their most valued and cherished asset – only to have them devalued overnight with no recourse.
“My fellow councillors and I demand accountability from the ARTC and the state and federal governments in managing the environmental impacts that have the potential to degrade people’s quality of life along the corridor.”
The committee is due to report by February 11.
This article first appeared on www.brisbanetimes.com.au
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