TOOWOOMBA's influential business body TSBE has made the stunning claim a study by world leading flood specialists has found Inland Rail plan's - including those for the controversial Condamine River floodplain - are "in line with industry best practice".
That's despite the Independent International Panel of Experts for Flood Studies report not being due for finalisation until mid-2022.
"There are a small number of opponents to the project locally who are concerned about the impacts of flooding across the Condamine Floodplain," said Toowoomba and Surat Basin Enterprise chief executive officer Ali Davenport.
"To ensure the safety of the project, the Federal and State Governments commissioned a study by world leading flood specialists to review the plans, which were found to be in line with industry best practice."
Queensland Country Life has requested both TSBE and Inland Rail builder Australian Rail Track Corporation release a copy of the long awaited report if it has been finalised, which was promised by both federal and state governments to be made publicly available.
Also stunning was Ms Davenport's claim that the construction of Inland Rail should have been underway in Queensland two years ago, saying costs had increased because of delays caused by five reviews into the alignment, plus the recent flood modelling study, she said.
That's despite Queensland's Coordinator General still waiting for further information to be provided by Inland Rail builder ARTC for its environmental impact statement.
In addition, material changes to the EIS would result in further community consultation that is likely to be influenced by the findings of the long awaited flood report, meaning a final date for the completion of any EIS remains uncertain.
Ms Davenport said she was confident that ARTC's processes had been thorough and that the project should now be on track to get started in Queensland.
Appearing to ignore both the potential impact of the still to be publicly released Independent International Panel of Experts for Flood Studies report and the EIS process, she said TSBE was "now calling for the construction to get underway without further delay or distraction".
However, it is unlikely any track laying will start in the foreseeable future with the newly elected Albanese Government renewing its commitment to review major infrastructure projects, including Inland Rail.
Mr Albanese - despite saying he supported the Melbourne to Brisbane project - has been highly critical of Inland Rail, describing the project as a "train wreck".
"The project's financing arrangements are questionable and the planning and public consultation have been botched so badly that farmers and affected communities have become openly hostile to a project which, delivered properly, would be a positive for the nation," Mr Albanese said in 2019.
"That is why a Federal Labor Government would appoint an eminent Australian to conduct an independent inquiry into Inland Rail."
Ms Davenport said TSBE understood Mr Albanese would be interested in looking closely at the project.
"He was the one that initiated it and provided the initial funding in 2012 when he was the Federal Transport Minister for the Gillard Government," Ms Davenport said.
"This project is expected to deliver a $7.3 billion economic injection to Queensland and create over 7000 jobs, it will mean lower transport costs and a whole new industry of transport and logistics for our region.
"We have capability in the region and we are focused on maximising local jobs and procurement.
"So let's get on with it."
Queensland Country Life has sought additional information from both TSBE and ARTC.
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