The Federal Government has selected the preferred corridor for the Yelarbon and Gowrie section of the Melbourne to Brisbane Inland Rail corridor out of four potential alignment options.
Federal Minister for Infrastructure and Transport, Darren Chester, said the decision, which would run via Pittsworth, Brookstead and the Wellcamp-Charlton industrial precinct, was not taken lightly.
Inland Rail is a once-in-a-generation project, and the Australian Government committed an additional $8.4 billion in the 2017–18 Budget for its delivery.
More than half of this investment will be spent in Queensland, and it is expected that Inland Rail will contribute an extra $2 billion to the Toowoomba and Darling Downs economy.
“This decision was based on rigorous technical analysis and consultation with community and industry representatives,” Mr Chester said.
“In addition, Bruce Wilson, Chair of the Yelarbon to Gowrie Project Reference Group, provided me with his independent views.
“I appreciate that many in the community have been seeking certainty about the alignment. All options present challenges but it is my view, based on the available information, that the corridor via Wellcamp and Charlton is the right decision.
“The Government has chosen this route because: as much as possible it uses existing rail corridors; it goes past Wellcamp Airport, which didn’t exist in 2010 when the original route was considered; and it is significantly more economically viable option than the alternative routes.
“The Inland Rail project will generate billions of dollars in economic growth, create 16,000 direct and indirect jobs during construction, and will make our roads safer by transferring freight from thousands of trucks to rail.
“The final design will be subject to an extensive State Government planning and approvals process, which will work through questions about technical and environmental aspects.
“I understand that people have concerns about the impacts of the rail line on the floodplain, and I am confident that by using the best engineering minds in Australia we will ensure that the effects are minimised.
“To ensure the views of the community continue be heard, a Border to Gowrie Community Consultative Committee will be established to provide feedback from landholders, businesses and residents.”