IT is crunch time for the Inland Rail, with landholders saying routes across either the Condamine River floodplain east of Millmerran or through the Felton Valley must be ruled out.
Instead, a new route must be decided: Likely to be either the existing rail corridor to near Warwick and across to Gowrie, or a relatively low impact route across forest country on the western side of the Condamine floodplain.
The crunch will come at meeting in Sydney late on Tuesday afternoon when affected landholders led by Millmerran Rail Group chairman Wes Judd will demand Nationals leader Michael McCormack and deputy Nationals leader David Littleproud rule out either option.
Federal Member for Groom, John McVeigh, Senator Susan McDonald, and Federal Member for Parkes, Mark Coulton, are also expected to attend the meeting.
Mr Judd said the Australian Rail Track Corporation's proposal to build the Border to Gowrie section of the Melbourne to Brisbane inland rail project across the Condamine River floodplain was in disarray due to ARTC's own concessions of flawed flood modeling.
The meeting is also expected to hear from independent hydrologist Dr Sharmil Marker, who says he has identified major flaws in ARTC's modeling.
"Landholders have been telling the ARTC and the Australian Government for years that the route selection was flawed and flooding would be exacerbated if ARTC followed through with its plan," Mr Judd said.
"This meeting is critical. Our lives and our livelihoods are on hold. We want answers, not excuses.
"We hope this week's meeting will categorically rule out the Condamine River floodplains routes.
"We believe the Yelarbon to Gowrie route options via Millmerran and Mt Tyson or via Karara, Leyburn and Felton are too risky."
Mr Judd said ARTC has had years to get the planning of the Inland Rail route right.
"Only when local landholders and the advice of hydrological experts, engaged by local landholders, showed them the flaws and exposed them to the Senate Inquiry has ARTC admitted fault," Mr Judd said.
"To continue with the proposed route would be an unmitigated disaster, expose Queenslanders to unnecessary risk and expose the Federal Government to unnecessary class actions."
ARTC issued a statement saying the organisation was not making assumptions about the outcomes of tomorrow's meeting in Sydney.
However, it was necessary to correct untruths about the Inland Rail project.
"We look forward to this opportunity to demonstrate our commitment to public safety through world-class science and engineering," the statement reads.
"ARTC has never stated that the flood modelling is flawed. The reporting on that matter is incorrect and continues to misrepresent ARTC's position on the matter."
That's despite a statement issued by ARTC and attributed to Inland Rail chief executive officer Richard Wankmuller on February 11, which says that past experiences in areas across the floodplain were not lining up with the modeling.
"We have to try figure out why that happened ... was there a piece of machinery that pushed the water differently that the model doesn't account for? Was there an embankment or a levee we didn't know about? Did somebody augment their property and build a temporary dam that we didn't know about?" the February 11 statement reads.
"That's why we talk to people. That's why we have to figure out exactly what was happening.
"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."
The statement issued today (Monday) says should the modeling or ARTC's field investigations reveal any fatal flaw in regard to public safety then appropriate action will be taken.
"In the comprehensive modelling work that's already been conducted by world class experts, no such fatal flaw has been identified and we remain committed to working closely with affected landowners to ensure the approach, design and modelling is robust and informed by the best possible science, expertise and local knowledge," the statement says.