VOICE: Gary Hayes is hoping to give a voice to the Southern Downs if he joins the inland rail Southern Darling Downs Community Consultative Committee.
VOICE: Gary Hayes is hoping to give a voice to the Southern Downs if he joins the inland rail Southern Darling Downs Community Consultative Committee. Sophie Lester

Rose City voice to join rail project

GARY Hayes could soon be representing the interests of Southern Downs landholders as the inland rail project progresses into Queensland.

The Southern Downs Regional Council has endorsed the Warwick surveyor to be appointed chairman of the Southern Darling Downs Inland Rail Community Consultative Committee.

"As its proposed, the preferred line going through Inglewood and Millmerran won't bring any benefit to this region at all,” Mr Hayes said.

"But there has been a lot of reaction from farmers out there who are calling on the Federal Government to rethink the decision and it will be important to be part of that decision making process.

"The inland rail is very important as the Queensland section will be dual guaged with both standard and Queensland narrow gauge.

"If the line goes from Inglewood to Toowoomba there will be no need for the continued use of the Warwick line. It depends on what happens with the environmental impact statement.

"This is a key driver of economic growth for the region, giving us better access to different markets, so it would be a big boost if we can maintain and build on our existing line.”

At yesterday's council meeting, councillor Marika McNichol and deputy mayor Jo McNally said Mr Hayes was an ideal candidate to represent the interests of the Southern Downs as the project progresses.

"I have sat and listened to him talking about the inland rail; he is very passionate and knowledgeable and I think he is the perfect person,” Cr McNichol said.

Mr Hayes said he was uncertain when the Australian Rail Track Corporation and Department of Infrastructure would select the committee chairs.

He said the preferred line could change depending on the environmental impact statement of the current route.

"If I don't get the chairman role, I would certainly hope I would still sit on the committee,” he said.

"Our area needs representation and I would be more than happy to do that.

"I imagine with the State Government in caretaker mode for the State Election it could take another couple of months for a decision to be made.”

Mayor Tracy Dobie said she was interested in joining the committee for the inner Darling Downs area, with committees for the Lockyer Valley and Scenic Rim to be selected.

"I may nominate myself for the chair role,” Cr Dobie said.

"I think it is important to have representative on inland rail as we will have lots of important links to the rail.”



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