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The Millmerran Rail Group is shocked the Australian Rail Track Corporation is persisting with a controversial Inland Rail route despite separate Senate and flood modelling investigations continuing and strong opposition from affected landholders.
Millmerran Rail Group chairman Wes Judd said the ARTC had submitted its draft Environmental Impact Statement for the section of Inland Rail between the NSW border and Gowrie near Toowoomba, which includes the contentious crossing of the Condamine River flood plain near Millmerran.
Mr Judd said the draft EIS had been released for public comment over the next 12 weeks.
“We had urged the Federal Government and ARTC to not proceed with the EIS on the route until the Senate Inquiry had completed its works and the report of the separate independent panel of experts examining the flood modelling and hydrology had been released,” Mr Judd said.
“The Senate Inquiry resumes hearing in Brisbane this Wednesday and the Independent International Panel of Experts for Flood Studies in Queensland is not due to finish its work until the end of this year.”
Mr Judd said the ARTC conceded in its draft EIS that the proposal was incomplete and needed more to work.
“The ARTC concedes in the draft EIS that details of the proposed route remain unfinished. These include the land area for the project’s footprint, the drainage for flood waters, the alignment of the railways, the design of level crossings, the design of 11 kilometres of bridges, the impact on utilities such as power and water, and the impacts on the existing Queensland Rail lines and assets, and fencing around the project,” he said.
Mr Judd reiterated the MRG’s position that the route over the Condamine Floodplain was the wrong route, and said there should be no decisions to grant approvals on this section of the rail line until the Senate Inquiry and the independent flood panel had finalised their investigations and the assessment of all alternate routes were updated in line with the Federal Government’s pre-Christmas announcement Inland Rail would cost an extra $5.5 billion to deliver.
This article first appeared on www.couriermail.com.au
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