Information sessions for the Australian Rail Track Corporation study on the Inland Rail project’s Condamine Flood Plain crossing will take place this week in Millmerran and Brookstead in southern Queensland.
The sessions will enable landowners and other community members will be able to provide feedback to the ARTC on the specialist studies that are being carried out for the project.
ARTC’s Rob McNamara said that the study’s technical specialists hoped that community members would share their local knowledge of the floodplain.
“No-one knows this area like the locals and we are keen to hear from the people who know this area best,” McNamara said.
“We invite locals to come to the sessions next week and talk to us about what’s involved in these investigations, to share their knowledge, to ask questions, and, if required, arrange opportunities for a one-on-one meeting.”
Last year, the federal government and the ARTC announced that the Inland Rail project would take a route between Yelarbon and Gowrie that would cut through the Condamine Floodplain in the Darling Downs region.
The announcement was met by landowner concerns that a rail crossing of the floodplain was potentially dangerous, and cause damage to the area’s agricultural land.
McNamara was keen to play down warnings and doubts about the project’s feasibility.
“There are numerous examples of rail lines crossing floodplains, making use of structures such as bridges, viaducts and culverts, and this process is about coming up with a best-fit solution for this particular floodplain,” he said.
The study is to take into account the entirety of the Condamine catchment, including areas that lie downstream and upstream from the study area.
The ARTC’s study team will gather information before developing and testing a hydrology model. This will go towards the development of a design solution for the rail crossing, which will have to pass approval via the release of an environmental impact statement (EIS).
McNamara said that landowners and other community members would be given “multiple opportunities” throughout this process to contribute and pass on feedback.
“The project consultants have already started meeting with landowners one-on-one to gather information and anecdotal evidence about historic flooding impacts,” he said.
“They will also be seeking input on the operational aspects of properties such as land access, road access, where and how equipment and stock is used, and how landowners use their properties.
“The consultants want to understand any implications so they can work towards mitigating them and subsequently provide an acceptable solution.”
The information and consultation sessions will be held this week at the following venues:
- Thursday 19 April: Millmerran Cultural Centre, Millmerran
- Saturday 21 April: Brookstead Hall, Brookstead