UNDER pressure federal Infrastructure Minister Darren Chester will fast track a study to determine the suitability of the Condamine floodplain as a route for the inland rail.
The federal coalition is coming under increasing pressure from affected landholders and communities along the proposed Queensland section of the Melbourne-Brisbane who are demanding the route be shifted away from prime agricultural land.
It is expected the impact study will explain how the inland rail will be engineered and calculate the true financial cost of building the infrastructure.
Somewhat incredibly, the current floodplain route was selected on the basis it was the cheapest compared to three other routes which were studied.
However, inland rail builder government-owned Australian Rail Track Corporation is unable to explain how the infrastructure will be engineered in such a way it does not exacerbate flood events nor the actual cost.
As announced in September, the inland route will slice a path across 16km of some of Australia’s most productive agricultural land on the floodplain. The route will also result in the dissection of up to 80 farms between Inglewood and Millmerran.
Mr Chester is facing a revolt from Queensland’s National MPs led by David Littleproud (Maranoa) who are demanding the minister rethinks the impact of the proposed route.
Increasingly frustrated landholders are also questioning why the government has not placed the route in such a way that it minimises its impact on agricultural production and communities.
The story Inland land: Condamine floodplain study fast tracked first appeared on Queensland Country Life.