Tuesday, 1 December 2020
Blair Electorate: Inland Rail
I'm concerned that the Inland Rail will have a high impact on and a low benefit for my community. I'm concerned that the Morrison government is bulldozing ahead with this particular project, cutting approval times and fast-tracking a project that's the subject of a Senate inquiry. There's little consultation in relation to this—and this from a Deputy Prime Minister that thought that the Inland Rail started in Tasmania!
Recently, I attended a meeting of the Willowbank Area Group, which is made up of residents, community members, environmental groups and businesses around the Willowbank area and the RAAF Base Amberley. There were five people there from the Australian Rail Track Corporation. There was an impressive number of attendees—everyone from the Calvert to Kagaru project manager and stakeholder engagement manager to environment groups and the managers responsible for those particular groups. But guess what? The people from the ARTC couldn't answer any questions. Not a single question was able to be answered by the ARTC people there. There were five people there! How serious are they in terms of consultation with my local community?
Recently, Western Australian senator Glenn Sterle, the chair of a Senate inquiry that is looking into this, and Queensland senator Anthony Chisholm visited Millmerran, one of the rural communities in Queensland, and then Ivory's Rock in my community. Ivory's Rock conference centre is an important centre in Peak Crossing south of Ipswich. It's a registered educational charity, with peace as its No. 1 focus. The foundation has invested over $26 million in developing a world-class, in-nature conference and convention centre. It attracts visitors from over 60 countries—5,000 delegates—to its peace conference. It's worth, going forward, $193 million to our local economy between 2018 and 2032.
The Inland Rail is going to adversely impact the conference centre. It's going to go 500 metres from the conference centre. It's going to cut through rural communities and go near Grandchester state primary school. This rail track, which is going to take trains 1.8 kilometres long, with carriages all the way along, is going to adversely impact them. You can hear the noise from Ipswich Boonah Road at the back of the conference centre. You can just imagine the impact of the Inland Rail on Ivory's Rock, this important centre in Ipswich. No compensation, no noise mitigation, no serious consultation—and the ARTC cannot answer any questions. The Morrison government should do much better than this.
I thank Senator Glenn Sterle and Senator Anthony Chisholm for coming and listening to the concerns of Ivory's Rock. I say to the Morrison government: do better, consult better and compensate better. Inland Rail is not having the impact it's supposed to be having.