Desperate farmers to protest Inland Rail in Brisbane today

Inland Rail: Desperate farmers to protest in Brisbane

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More than 200 people are expected protest the proposed route of the Inland Rail across the Condamine River floodplain in Brisbane today.

More than 200 people are expected protest the proposed route of the Inland Rail across the Condamine River floodplain in Brisbane today.

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More than 200 people are expected protest the proposed route of the Inland Rail across the Condamine River floodplain in Brisbane today.

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MORE than 200 farmers and other community members are expected to gather in Brisbane today to protest what they say is a flawed Inland Rail route across the Condamine River floodplain.

Darling Downs farmers will lead the protest, which is calling on the federal National Party to immediately rule out the proposed route.

They want the government to develop an alternative route with less impact for the $10 billion project designed to link Melbourne and Brisbane by a high capacity rail line.

Those alternatives include redeveloping the existing rail corridor passing near Warwick, a route through the Felton Valley, and a low impact route mostly through forest country west of Millmerran.

The protesting group will meet at the Alice Street/Edward Street entrance to Botanic Gardens at 1.30pm before walking to Waterfront Place where federal opposition leader Anthony Albanese will address the crowd.

A delegation headed by floodplainfarmer and Millmerran Rail Group chairman Wes Judd will then meet with Mr Albanese to further discuss their concerns.

The controversial 16km route across the agriculturally significant floodplain has become marred in controversy and increasingly a problem for Nationals Leader Michael McCormack, who, as transport minister, approved the route.

While Inland Rail builder, the Australian Rail Track Corporation, is proposing the Inland Rail's 2.5m high levy bank will have a large number of culverts and sections of bridging to allow flood waters to pass without impact, farmers maintain the proposed design is fatally flawed.

They say ARTC's modeling does not properly explain observed previous flood behaviours and stubble left on paddocks to protect soil will block the culverts and become wrapped around other structures, including bridge pylons.

Inland Rail builder ARTC has also acknowledged there are flaws in the modeling.

MORE READING: 'Flood modeling flaws 'of concern' says Inland Rail builder'.

The protest group is expecting a sympathetic ear in Brisbane this afternoon. Mr Albanese has previously expressed concerns about the Inland Rail crossing the Condamine River floodplain.

Today's Brisbane protest follows a attended by more than 300 people Senate inquiry in Millmerran on January 29. At that event the majority of the witnesses were openly critical of the handling of the project by ARTC.

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