No stop at Warwick on proposed Inland Rail route
THE Inland Rail was the hot topic discussed between Southern Downs Regional Council and Federal Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Darren Chester.
Mayor Tracy Dobie, Cr Jo McNally, David Littleproud and Mr Chester met yesterday, speaking of the proposed inland rail route that bypassed Warwick in favour of Millmerran.
A map of the planned route, which travels from Toowoomba to Inglewood via Gowrie, Oakey and Millmerran, was presented by Mr Chester.
“That’s the indicative route at this stage,” Mr Chester said.
“We haven’t begun land acquisition on that route, and that’s what the $594 million is all about.”
Cr Dobie said including Warwick would enhance the area’s future transport and trade prospects.
“What we want is for the route to go from Toowoomba via Warwick to Melbourne,” she said.
Mr Chester said the route was still open to amendment and the Australian Rail Track Corporation would spend two years assessing land and rail options.
“What we have at the moment is an indicative route from the ARTC and I’m here today to meet with council,” he said.
“What will occur over the next two years is the government will work with communities on the route, work with the industry and business community to firm up the preferred route,” Mr Chester said.
“We’ve got to do land acquisition, geotechnical work and all the other activities you would expect with this kind of project.”
Whether Warwick will find its way on to the route is still uncertain.
“We don’t have a confirmed route at this stage but I’m open to discussion with council,” Mr Chester said.
“I think council made some very valid points about the opportunity for growth in the community.
“Warwick is on the radar in the sense that I’m here today to have a conversation.
“But I can’t make commitments during caretaker mode.”