SECTIONS of the Melbourne to Brisbane Inland Rail Program between Toowoomba to Grandchester have been declared coordinated projects by Queensland’s coordinator-general.
State Development Minister Anthony Lynham said the coordinator-general could now coordinate the environmental assessment process for the 26km, $1.35 billion Gowrie to Helidon and the 47km, $1 billion Helidon to Calvert sections.
Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC) is constructing the $10 billion freight project, which although has identified a broad corridor, is still to finalise alignments.
Controversy continues to dog the Queensland section of the project. Landholders on the originally-proposed route across the agriculturally important Condamine floodplain say the rail would significantly exacerbate flood events across the region.
A report examining other possible options including a route through the Felton Valley and using the existing rail corridor close to Warwick is expected to be presented to Infrastructure and Transport Minister Darren Chester later this month.
Dr Lynham said the adjoining dual-gauge sections could each generate 1800 jobs during their four-year construction phase starting in 2020 and 700 jobs for the 50 years of forecast operation for the entire program.”
The coordinator-general is expected to release the draft terms of reference for environmental impact statements in May.