Farmers take Inland Rail fight to Canberra

Condamine floodplain farmers take Inland Rail fight to Canberra

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Millmerran Rail Group chairman Wes Judd says he expects the Morrison government will rule out a controversial Inland Rail route crossing the Condamine River floodplain. Mr Judd is pictured with a flood damaged section of the abandoned Millmerran line.

Millmerran Rail Group chairman Wes Judd says he expects the Morrison government will rule out a controversial Inland Rail route crossing the Condamine River floodplain. Mr Judd is pictured with a flood damaged section of the abandoned Millmerran line.

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Farmers say they have high hopes a controversial Inland Rail route will be ruled out.

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FARMERS say they have high hopes the Morrison government will rule out the controversial Inland Rail route crossing the Condamine River floodplain during a meeting in Canberra next week.

Millmerran Rail Group chairman Wes Judd said the meeting was called following admissions by the Australian Rail Track Corporation's Inland Rail chief executive officer Richard Wankmuller of flaws in the flood modelling.

ARTC is using this modeling as a base for is plans to construct a 16km, 2.5 metre high levy and bridge structure across the agriculturally significant floodplain.

Mr Wankmuller said there were local abnormalities across the floodplain where past experience was not lining up with modeling.

"We're still trying to figure out exactly what happened," he said. "We truly have to get this right and the only way to get it right is to talk to people and get the information they have."

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

Mr Judd said landholders had argued for almost four years that the Condamine River floodplain route was flawed because of the flood risk.

"Landholders tried to show ARTC the levels of previous floods," Mr Judd said. "Landholders engaged independent experts to show ARTC their modelling was flawed and frankly, that their plan was unworkable. The Senate Committee heard the facts, and only after those hearings, did ARTC concede there were flaws."

Mr Judd said the federal government needed to rule out the Inland Rail crossing the Condamine River floodplains. "The flaws are too many. The risks are too great," he said.

Mr Judd, whose farm east of Millmerran is 1.5km from the proposed Inland Rail route, refuted ARTC's claim that he was not an affected landholder.

"It's nonsense. It's a floodplain," Mr Judd said. "All landholders from Bringalily to Brookstead are affected by the line."

In a statement issued to Queensland Country Life, ARTC said it had met with Mr Judd 67 times in his capacity as the head of an interest group.

"He is not a directly affected landowner," the statement reads.

"The other members of the Millmerran Rail Group have had a total of 836 consultation interactions i.e. face to face, phone calls, CCCs, newsletters - since 2016."

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