Politicians debate rail route

Southern Downs Regional Council mayor Tracy Dobie at the rail tracks at Thulimbah. Cr Dobie wants the proposed inland rail route to be reconsidered.
Southern Downs Regional Council mayor Tracy Dobie at the rail tracks at Thulimbah. Cr Dobie wants the proposed inland rail route to be reconsidered. Liana Turner

WE NEED inland rail, but we need to do it right.

That's the message from member for the Southern Downs Lawrence Springborg and Southern Downs mayor Tracy Dobie.

Mr Springborg last week tabled a 2015 report by the Snowy Mountains Engineering Corporation, which highlighted concerns with the proposed route and favoured a line through the Southern Downs from Inglewood via Karara and Leyburn to Toowoomba, to state parliament.

He said a review into the proposed route was needed.

Mr Springborg said he supported the inland rail idea "100 per cent”, but believed the ARTC had not investigation all options appropriately.

"There's been very limited, if any, transparency with that they've come up with,” he said.

"What we need now is... a review of the way that it's been done and we also need... an open process. That has not happened to date.

"For a $10 billion project that's going to take 10 years, we need to make sure that we do it right.”

Cr Dobie said the proposed line was "not the optimum route”.

"Our region has effectively been frozen out of discussions about the Inland Rail,” Cr Dobie said.

"The ARTC has chosen to ignore us, and it's astonishing that they have said they were aware of the 2015 SMEC report, but that the alternative didn't demonstrate any advantage.

"Instead they're choosing to continue pushing for a route option from a report prepared five years earlier in 2010.

"The SMEC report, which favours a route through the Southern Downs, is evidence that there is significant merit associated with using an existing rail corridor.

"Surely it makes sense to use an existing line, particularly when the development costs stand to be far less than building 100 kilometres of new track.”

Cr Dobie questioned building a new line across a "fertile agricultural flood plain” in Millmerran.

"Southern Downs Regional Council proposes that the inland rail uses the existing line,” Cr Dobie said.

"The existing line from Warwick to Toowoomba is becoming more important to the Southern Downs region as the delivery of our produce becomes more time-critical and we use containers to move that produce.

"Toowoomba is developing into a large logistics hub and it's important that Southern Downs is synchronised with Toowoomba.

"However, at the core of this issue is the lack of transparency around the consultation processes, and the ARTC now needs to step up to the plate.

"Above all, it's clear that the options must be revisited in an open and transparent way that engages all stakeholders.”

An ARTC spokesman said the route through Inglewood and Gowrie was preferred in its 2010 study because it allowed for shorter journey times, reduced costs and allowed for greater freight volumes.

"We understand the community needs to have confidence in the final alignment and we want to be able to provide the community with clear and comparable findings from the assessment of the preferred alignment compared to others,” he said.

Topics:  artc, australian rail track corporation, inland rail, inland rail project, lawrence springborg, southern downs regional council, tracy dobie

Fight breaks out at Rose City Shoppingworld

Police were called just after 1pm.

A MAN has been charged after allegedly causing a ruckus

Extra backpacker beds for Stanthorpe

View of the Stanthorpe CBD from Mount Marley.

Stanthorpe will see a boost to accommodation for seasonal workers

Storms are coming! What it means for your long weekend

Yes, it's going to affect your long weekend

Local Partners

9000 reasons to support our community clubs

Community clubs are good at what they do. They are not so good at telling the world about what they do, as Clubs Queensland CEO Doug Flockhart explains.

Homer Simpson thanks Australia during Opera House visit

Homer Simpson visits the Sydney Opera House.

ANIMATION favourite gets attacked by seagulls in viral video.

Channel 9 orders second season of Doctor Doctor

Rodger Corser stars in the TV series Doctor Doctor.

RURAL medical drama finds a loyal following.

Katy Perry gets naked to encourage people to vote

Katy Perry in Funny Or Die sketch

Katy Perry has stripped naked for a comedy video

Jogging Tom Hanks crashes wedding in Central Park

Tom Hanks stopped for a selfie with this bride and groom

MOVIE REVIEW: Storks delivers family fun

A scene from the movie Storks.

ANIMATION can be hit or miss but when it hits, it hits hard.

Nick 'the snake' to call the shots on Survivor jury

Australian Survivor contestant Nick Iadanza.

LATEST evictee is out of the game but will still have a say.

$40million hotel, shops development project for Mackay

Mt Pleasant hotel and retirement accommodation, proposed at 194-202 Malcomson St.

$40m development to take Mackay to 'the next level'

Rural properties expected to soar as investors seek income

Rural properties are should become highly sought after

Property 200m from ocean selling for just over $100K

BEACHCOMBER PARK: Work has started on a new $19.2 million development at Toogoom.

The estate's developer is offering huge discounts for early buyers.

UPDATE: Former rodeo champ's sale rained out, now back on

Larkhill local Ken Consiglio is having an auction of most of the things on his property.

'People kept showing up and we had to turn them away'

First stages of $25 million housing development underway

New development on Madsen Rd - The Springs.

The blocks of land are much bigger than usual

Couple build their own 'tiny house' for $45k

Holly Bowen and Oli Bucher built their "tiny house" themselves, only hiring a plumber and an electrician. Photo/supplied

The house, which is built on a trailer and can be towed.