Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Darren Chester says community feedback on the Yelarbon to Gowrie section of the Inland Rail project will be vital in finalising the route selection.
Mr Chester met with the Chair of the Yelarbon to Gowrie Project Reference Group (PRG) Bruce Wilson AM for an update on the Multi-Criteria Analysis (MCA) and initial capital costings being undertaken as part of the Yelarbon to Gowrie Inland Rail alignment review.
The MCA results were close for all four alignment options, however the costings have revealed some clear differences.
The analysis found the Inglewood through Millmerran (base case) option was the least expensive, followed by the Wellcamp/Charlton option, Karara/Leyburn, and then the Warwick option.
“We believe in the future of regional Australia, and the Melbourne to Brisbane Inland Rail project will deliver benefits today and in 100 years from now,” Mr Chester said.
“The process in determining the best alignment in this section is important and will be a balance between community, economic, and environmental considerations.
“I can assure all communities which could potentially be affected by this critical infrastructure project that the Australian Government and Australian Rail Track Corporation will continue to engage with them as we move into the next stage.
“In the long term we will also be working with locals to maximise the benefits of this major freight corridor at a local and regional level.”
Mr Wilson said the technical consultants are continuing their work and will provide further detail to PRG Members at their next meeting.
“I will be providing the Minister with the report on the transparency of the review process and an update on the continued community engagement,” Mr Wilson said.
A separate report will be provided to Mr Chester, which will detail the results of the MCA, technical aspects and comparative costings for each of the four alignment options in the Yelarbon to Gowrie region.
Mr Wilson said that it is important to remember that while all four options impacted farmland, this increasingly detailed process allows room for continued refinement of the chosen alignment to ensure a route of least impact.
“I would like to thank the members of the community who provided input into this process, through the PRG, community drop-in sessions, and to the Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development,” Mr Wilson said.
“Their advice helped both in the understanding of potential community impacts and in verifying the accuracy of the data used by the technical experts conducting the alignment review.”