National News

Full steam ahead for Inland Rail concerns farmers

NSW Farmers’ Association is concerned fast-tracking the development of Inland Rail will be to the detriment of local communities impacted by the project.
It follows the Prime Minister’s announcement this week the Inland Rail project will be constructed earlier than scheduled to help Australia’s economic recovery post COVID-19.
Chair of the NSW Farmers’ Inland Rail Taskforce, Adrian Lyons, says it’s time the NSW and Commonwealth governments stood up for regional communities.
“The Inland Rail project should not be built until all appropriate checks and balances are carried out. 
“We believe there are fundamental issues with the project that are still unresolved five years since questions were first raised.
“Our experience of the Project to date is that it is being designed and built to budget rather than specification,” Mr Lyons said.
NSW Farmers supports the Inland Rail project but to maximise return on investment, the ARTC must listen to local voices and bring local communities with them.
“Our members believe that there is only one opportunity to get this nation building infrastructure right.
“ARTC’s implementation of the Inland Rail Project has been characterised by inadequate consultation, undermining local support for the Project and leaving many of the most impacted landholders disenfranchised and confused.
“Impacted members believe that decisions about the route, particularly the greenfield sections, have not been based on reliable data and have not adequately taken into account community input and localised data about the social, economic and environmental impacts of this major infrastructure project.” said Mr Lyons.
NSW Farmers’ members have also raised significant concerns that vital local information is not being utilised by the ARTC as they prepare Environmental Impact Statements for approval of the route sections.  The Association is calling on both the State and Federal governments to support our members by ensuring that we get Inland Rail right. 
“This is a process that cannot be rushed,” Mr Lyons concluded.