FILE PHOTO
FILE PHOTO

Millmerran Rail Group meets with Deputy Prime Minister

REPRESENTATIVES of the Millmerran Rail Group have made it "abundantly clear" to Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack that the current Inland Rail route between the Queensland border and Gowrie is "not acceptable". 

MRG chairman Wes Judd, along with DA Hall and Co's Adam Birch and their hydrologist Dr Sharmil Markar travelled to Sydney for a meeting late on Tuesday with the Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack, Agriculture Minister David Littleproud, Senator Susan McDonald and Australian Rail Track Corporation representatives. 

The meeting was to discuss the Inland Rail project's route and hydrological modelling for the line's crossing of the Condamine Floodplain. 

Farmers have long feared putting a rail line across the Condamine Floodplain will have the effect of creating a dam during flood events. 

Mr Judd said on the issue of the route, he said the trio had "made it abundantly clear this corridor is not acceptable and they need to look at other options". 

"(The Federal Government) needs to pursue the State Government to work out what's been assessed and what hasn't been assessed between the Feds and State," he said. 

"They need to then, as we've said before, get a process in place to do some proper assessment that is honest and impartial to ensure that if there's better options, which we've said all along there's got to be, they can be considered."

On the issue of hydrological modelling to inform the route's design, Mr Judd said it was beneficial to have a discussion about the ARTC's methodology and hydrology in front of senior politicians. 

ARTC has previously said there were some discrepancies between its modelling and observed flood events along certain points of the floodplain, but was working to figure out the cause. 

Mr Judd said the work was taking too long, and that people's businesses and lives had been put on hold because of the project. 

ARTC Inland Rail chief executive Richard Wankmuller said the community could be confident in the robust flood modelling to date. 

"We have the utmost confidence in our flood modelling, which has been conducted, reviewed and verified separately by the country's and Queensland's leading hydrology experts", Mr Wankmuller said. 

"Our confidence comes from the fact that five different companies - all experts in their field who've done this many times before, have confirmed that this flood modelling is comprehensive, meets industry standards and is fit for purpose. 

"The science tells us there is no premise to change the route based on flood modelling, and the economics tells us that this route was the most viable, cost effective option. 

"We have long-acknowledged the concerns of the community, which is why we continue to incorporate their local knowledge into our model and how we design the rail line that will cross the Condamine floodplain. 

"It's important governments and the community have confidence in the engineering and science."



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