The Queensland Farmers Federation says it’s time to see a decision announced round the 198km Yelarbon and Gowrie section of the Inland rail Project.
The QFF call comes ahead of an address this Thursday to the Rural Press Club by Federal Transport Minister Darren Chester at which the industry body says it’ll be listening intently and seeking confirmation that any decision the government makes, ensures the preservation of prime agricultural land on the Condamine Flood Plain.
A decision on the four possible alignments for this section was due in June but since then there has been considerable protest from local landholders about the route through the Condamine Floodplain and its likley impact.
The Queensland Farmers’ Federation (QFF) says that while it supports this once in a 100-year project it feels the consultation process has been disappointing.
QFF says the failure of this process led QFF to reach out directly to the Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC) for clarity and to ensure due diligence and proper consideration of community, industry and environmental needs.
“Given the verbal commitment Deputy Prime Minster Barnaby Joyce gave to QFF that our industries would be directly consulted before a final decision was made public, the coming weeks will be telling to see if the legitimate concerns raised have been given due consideration.”
QFF says the Project has the potential to deliver sector wide benefits for agriculture as well as 16,000 jobs during construction and a projected $16 billion boost to the New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland economies over the next 60 years.
According to the former member for Groom, Ian McFarlane, a decision has been or is very close to being made.