In­land Rail: nal sec­tion ap­proved

Australian Transport News - - Contents -

Fed­eral govern­ment gives go-ahead to nal sec­tion de­spite com­mu­nity con­cerns

ONE OF THE MOST CON­TRO­VER­SIAL sec­tions of the pro­posed In­land Rail project has taken a step to­wards com­ple­tion.

Fed­eral in­fra­struc­ture and trans­port min­is­ter Dar­ren Ch­ester an­nounced the pre­ferred cor­ri­dor be­tween Ye­lar­bon and Gowrie in Queens­land.

Com­ing on the back of a re­view into the fi­nal four op­tions, the long-awaited de­ci­sion will place a line through Pittsworth, Brook­stead and the Well­cam­pCharl­ton in­dus­trial precinct.

The 2km-wide cor­ri­dor cho­sen will be in­ves­ti­gated by the Aus­tralian Rail Track Cor­po­ra­tion (ARTC) for for­mal as­sess­ment and ap­proval.

Ac­knowl­edg­ing the com­mu­nity worry, Ch­ester says it was a de­ci­sion “based on rig­or­ous tech­ni­cal anal­y­sis and con­sul­ta­tion with com­mu­nity and in­dus­try rep­re­sen­ta­tives”.

“I ap­pre­ci­ate that many in the com­mu­nity have been seek­ing cer­tainty about the alignment,” he says.

“All op­tions pre­sent chal­lenges but it is my view, based on the avail­able in­for­ma­tion, that the cor­ri­dor via Well­camp and Charl­ton is the right de­ci­sion.

“The Govern­ment has cho­sen this route be­cause: as much as pos­si­ble it uses ex­ist­ing rail cor­ri­dors; it goes past Well­camp Air­port, which didn’t ex­ist in 2010 when the orig­i­nal route was con­sid­ered; and it is sig­nif­i­cantly more eco­nom­i­cally vi­able op­tion than the al­ter­na­tive routes.”

Promis­ing to “work with” those im­pacted, Ch­ester says the govern­ment will take “the best part of 18 months to two years” be­fore the in­ves­tiga­tive process will be com­pleted, leav­ing “enor­mous amounts of op­por­tu­nity for the com­mu­nity to be in­volved”.

Re­it­er­at­ing the sen­ti­ments, ARTC CEO John Fuller­ton says: “ARTC is de­ter­mined to en­gage and con­sult as widely and openly as pos­si­ble so that we un­der­stand those con­cerns.”

For mem­bers of the trans­port and lo­gis­tics com­mu­nity, Ch­ester gave a clear in­di­ca­tion that rail is the way he wants freight moved in Aus­tralia.

“The more heavy ve­hi­cles we can take off road and re­place that with freight mov­ing on rail, the more lives we’ll save on our roads,” Ch­ester says.

Dar­ren Ch­ester

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