Goondiwindi Mayor Graeme Scheu has welcomed the announcement of the Inland Rail final route, saying the decision allowed Goondiwindi Regional Council to finalise its requests that best suited landholders and residents.
“It made little difference to our council where the final route went beyond our boundaries but we needed to know which way the government was leaning from the four options available so our council can fine-tune our preference within our boundaries”.
“Now that decision has been made, we will be speaking with Australian Rail Track Corporation and Federal Infrastructure Minister Darren Chester in regard to the Whetstone to Millmerran alignment, which we regard as a minor adjustment but significant for our landholders.”
Councillor Scheu says the council had always believed that the better option would be through the State forest to a point on or near the Gore where the Inland Rail would continue to its connection point.
“Our council is well aware of the concerns of the Condamine Flood Plain landholders with flood affects and that will obviously need to be fully addressed before proceeding as well.”
“The Goondiwindi Regional Council is currently in discussion with ARTC on another sector, the North Star to Yelarbon sector, which comes under a different section of ARTC. This is our immediate concern.”
The Mayor says that Landholders now require detailed plans of how the flood plain will be traversed.
“ARTC had a 7-km corridor which is being reduced to a 2-km corridor some 12 km from Goondiwindi.”
Goondiwindi Regional Council and the Moree Plains Shire Council both preferred a route that would go closer to Boggabilla or even go through Boggabilla and create a bypass of the town. “But that appears to be canned”.
Councillor Scheu says that with the rail line some distance from town, it was imperative that the feeder line into the Inland Rail joining point was upgraded.
“The ideal situation would be to have the whole SW Rail line upgraded as far as Thallon to the joining point of the Inland rail, which would solve a massive logistics problem for our area and solve a major problem for the State Government with road maintenance and congestion.”
“Another anomaly is the direct entry into the Port of Brisbane either by the proposed tunnel or the existing Acacia Ridge – Port of Brisbane line.”
“This is paramount to the success of the Inland Rail and the delivery of commodities from these rich agricultural areas.”
“If the existing Acacia Ridge line is preferred, maybe it could all be resolved under the Cross-River Rail debate as while the freight from this area continues to grow at the rate it is, the urban congestion problem is only going to worsen.”