Inland Rail review welcomed, but concerns remain

The federal government has announced a review into Australia’s largest rail construction program, the $14.5 billion Inland Rail project, which aims to link Melbourne and Brisbane via a 1,700-kilometre-long corridor running through regional Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland.

The review will be headed up by Dr Kerry Schott, an experienced executive who has worked in both the private and public sectors.

The announcement of the review came as the Government released an independent report into the potential for the rail line to influence flood behaviour along its route within Queensland. The report broadly found that the project has taken flooding considerations into account.

Nonetheless, the federal government says that former Coalition government “left Inland Rail in a mess”.

“We are delivering on our election commitment to undertake an independent review to get this nationally important project making progress again without further delays and with improved community consultation,” said the Minister for Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government, Catherine King.

“The review will give the Government a clear-eyed view on what the problems are and the way forward.”

Minister King added that “Dr Schott is a highly respected and trusted leader” who will “conduct a thorough and independent review of Inland Rail and make recommendations to ensure this nationally significant project is successfully delivered.”

The review, which is expected to be completed by early 2023, will:

  • consider the process for selecting the Inland Rail route, including stakeholder consultation, and assess the project’s scope, schedule and cost.
  • assess options for new Inland Rail intermodal terminals to be built in Melbourne and Brisbane, which would improve rail links to the cities’ ports.
  • have regard to existing studies, such as the Toowoomba to Gladstone Inland Rail Extension Business Case.

Concerns remain

In Queensland, the mayor of the City of Logan, Darren Power, has welcomed the review but has said the fight is not over to safeguard concerns regarding the route chosen for the rail line, which currently is due to closely skirt the western fringe of the City along a section known as Kagaru and Acacia Ridge to Bromelton (K2ARB).

Image courtesy ARTC

“We have been vocal about the serious impacts of the K2ARB section of the project for many years now,” Cr Power said.

“Residents did not get an opportunity to have their say on the route or offer alternatives. It is the most densely populated section of the project in Queensland and those residents will bear the brunt of the noise, vibration and air quality issues.”

It is expected that 40,000 people will live within one kilometre of the rail corridor over the next twenty years.

“It is not good enough that our residents have been consistently ignored by the Australian Rail Track Corporation and we look forward to hearing what the review has to say when the findings come back early next year,” Cr Power said.

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One thought on “Inland Rail review welcomed, but concerns remain

  1. The First Review of the project should take into consideration that when the Inland Train Project reaches the Illabo/Cootamundra area that a TEE to Queanbeyan COULD connect to a Queanbeyan to Eden the Deep Sea Port and the Canberra International Airport
    Eden will have Cruise ship coming in with 6000 passengers some could catch the Train to Canberra and onto Sydney where they could pick up the Cruise ship again
    IF the Snowy Monaro Progress Association Concept Plan was reconsidered
    In the Concept Plan is allowance for Tee to Bega which would open up the Far South Coast for Medical Transport to Canberra and Tourism
    Also a Bike Trail running alongside the train line between Queanbeyan and Bombala with a Chain wire fence between the train and the Bike Trail
    The advantages of the Eden Deep Sea port is that it would take the loads off the ports of Botany Bay Newcastle and Port Kembla and help to pay for the SMPA Concept PLan and the start to use the portion of the Inland Rail that has reached the Cootamundra area
    With existing floods Heavy Vehicles transport is limited BUT not if the Tee to the SMPA Concept plan is supported
    Evacuations during South Coast fires could have used the Bega to Canberra and Sydney IF it was built
    The following is the information required to appreciate the work that has been already prepared by the CMPA

    Review CMPA 2021
    (incl.Exc.Summary of Feasibility Study, 2020)
    Reviews Mitchell 2021

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