The Australasian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC) has sought a decision from the Queensland Government’s Office of the Coordinator-General on whether an Environmental Impact Statement is required for a key section of the Inland Rail project in Brisbane’s south.
ARTC has applied to the Office of the Coordinator-General regarding the Kagaru to Acacia Ridge and Bromelton (K2ARB) section of the project.
Inland Rail Chief Executive Officer, Richard Wankmuller, said lodgement of an application for coordinated project status by ARTC would trigger a decision from the Office of the Coordinator-General on the approval pathway needed for the section of the project through Brisbane’s southern suburbs.
“Community representatives have signalled to us that they would prefer a full EIS for this section of Inland Rail and last night the Kagaru to Acacia Ridge and Bromelton Inland Rail Community Consultative Committee welcomed this action by ARTC as a necessary step forward,” Mr Wankmuller said.
“We know the community is eager to find out what happens next and we will provide clarity as soon we can.”
The K2ARB section of the Inland Rail consists of enhancements to, as well as commissioning of, dual gauge operations along 49km of the existing interstate route both south from Kagaru to Bromelton and north from Kagaru to Brisbane’s major intermodal terminal at Acacia Ridge.
Under the State Development and Public Works Organisation Act 1971, several factors may lead to a project being declared coordinated, including complex approval requirements, significant environmental effects and significant infrastructure requirements.
The Coordinator-General will consider these factors and then will decide whether an EIS or another mechanism is the best way to manage approvals for Inland Rail in this section.
“This is about making sure Inland Rail, which will provide the freight rail network needed to support a growing Brisbane, is delivered in a coordinated way, based on the best technical advice and with the community fully informed,” Mr Wankmuller said.
“Irrespective of any decision there will be a range of investigations undertaken to consider the potential impact of the project and how any impacts may be mitigated. These generally include geotechnical, flooding and hydrology, ecological, noise, air quality and vibration, social and heritage studies.
“There is still around 12-18 months of comprehensive studies ahead of us on this section of Inland Rail.
“We will continue to provide information to the community through information sessions, advertising and the media as we want to take the community with us every step of the way.”
Brisbane is the national headquarters of Inland Rail and Queensland will be the biggest beneficiary in terms of construction expenditure, future jobs and economic development.
Around 60 per cent of construction expenditure for Inland Rail is forecast for Queensland with 7000 jobs expected to be supported at peak construction.