FARMERS say the ballast may be shifting in the long running fight over the Inland Rail's controversial route across the Condamine River Floodplain.
Millmerran Rail Group chairman Wes Judd said following a meeting with Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce there was renewed hope that tough decisions would be made that would see the agriculturally important area remain unscathed.
Mr Judd said while Mr Joyce - who is also the minister for infrastructure, transport and regional development - had pulled up short on making any commitments, it was the best hearing farmers had had in five years.
"The Senate inquiry spelt out for everyone the hell of a mess that Barnaby Joyce has inherited with Inland Rail," Mr Judd said.
The Senate inquiry spelt out for everyone the hell of a mess that Barnaby Joyce has inherited with Inland Rail.- Wes Judd, Millmerran Rail Group
"He didn't create the mess, but it's clear to us from the meeting that he's determined to fix it."
The Senate inquiry's report titled 'Inland Rail: derailed from the start' is scathing of the Australian Rail Track Corporation's plans and approach to the construction of the project.
"We want Inland Rail that builds up agriculture, doesn't tear it down like the ARTC route across the Condamine River Floodplain near Millmerran will do," Mr Judd said.
"The ARTC route is flawed and without friends.
"Our Federal MP David Littleproud doesn't like it. Our State MP James Lister doesn't like it. The Senate Committee of Labor, LNP and One Nation Senators rejected it. The Toowoomba Regional Council has punched holes in it. The draft EIS is incomplete.
"You couldn't make a paper aeroplane with it, let alone build more than 200km of rail line with it."
Mr Judd said the South Western rail corridor, which heads from the Goondiwindi to Warwick and then to Toowoomba was being promoted as an alternative.
"It should've been properly considered five years ago," he said.
"It made sense then and it makes sense now.
"It has been a rail corridor from the NSW border to Toowoomba for more than a century."
The shift off the floodplain has the support of the $450 million egg industry, reflecting that 35 per cent of Queensland's production is located in the region.
Queensland United Egg Producers CEO John Coward said it was about the intensive industries having the confidence to invest.
"The fact that the deputy prime minister has taken such a keen interest in this issue is refreshing," Mr Coward said.
Egg Farmers of Australia CEO Melinda Hashimoto said the best route with the least disruption to farmers must be sought based on the facts.
"Farmers are hoping to have this issue dealt with swiftly so they can get on with doing what they do best, producing food for the nation," Ms Hashimoto said.
The possible shift in attitude comes as ARTC begins its search for a new Inland Rail chief executive officer, following the departure of Richard Wankmuller.
"We trust the Deputy Prime Minister and we are prepared to give the new CEO the benefit of the doubt," Mr Judd said.
"What we don't trust is ARTC."
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