Inland Rail: nal section approved
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.