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The state government is failing to properly implement functional infrastructure planning for the Inland Rail according to Nationals Senator, Susan McDonald.
Senator McDonald is deputy chair of the Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport References Committee and said although she supports the project, the execution has halted the project in its tracks.
"There is absolutely no intention from the Palaszczuk government to provide a route or support that will ensure the Inland Rail will be built," she said.
"There is not the budget or willingness of the community to build the Inland Rail in places where there have been years of settlement - particularly on prime agricultural land."
Inland Rail is estimated to create more than 16,000 jobs and inject more than $16 billion into Australia's economy.
The 1700-kilometre freight line project aims to connect Melbourne and Brisbane through New South Wales.
The routes for the Inland Rail are advised by state governments and provided to Australian Rail Track Corporation for federal funding.
"What I have discovered as part of the Inland Rail committee is that Queensland is not doing well as part of the project," she said.
"Rail has not been in the planning for Queensland ever since Labor got into government.
"And now we're paying the price for lack of planning."
Senator McDonald said that there is "no community appetite" for heavy-freight-trains moving through the Gowrie to Helidon (Toowoomba and Lockyer Valley) section of the rail.
Last week, former Howard government minister and chair of the ARTC established Community Consultative Committee for the Kangura to Acacia Ridge route of the rail, flagged major concerns that the proposed route would "devastate" Brisbane's south.
Acacia Ridge is the end of the current line, and is 38 kilometres south of the Port of Brisbane. Mr Hardgrave said Acacia Ridge does not have the roads and infrastructure to support the amount of freight the rail would require.
"Acacia Ridge is not purpose built for the task, and to deliver the sort of additional freight truck tasks onto south side roads would be devastating for the areas from Acacia Ridge to the Port of Brisbane," he said.
The federal government bowed to public pressure last year, announcing a review of the Condamine floodplain after a fiery public hearing in Millmerran, where landholders expressed their frustrations.
Queensland Minister for Transport and Main Roads Mark Bailey said Senator McDonald's government is providing the $10 million to the South East Queensland Intermodal Terminal Business Case that will plan for Inland Rails freight requirements including at Acacia Ridge.
"Don't be fooled by Senator McDonald's claims that everything is Labor's fault," he said.
"The current issues with Inland Rail sit squarely with Senator McDonald's own government. They proposed the current project and route.
"We want the issues identified with the Queensland route resolved quickly so that federal investment flows into Queensland and supports construction jobs when our economy needs them."
"Our government is working closely with the Federal Government on some of those issues, and Queensland has received great support from Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack in terms of his backing Queensland to fund important infrastructure, particularly last year when the pandemic was hitting economies hard."
This article first appeared on www.queenslandcountrylife.com.au
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