Inland Rail route just 500m from peace festival site
ONE of the Ipswich region’s biggest tourism operators could be severely impacted by the Inland Rail project if no mitigation is put in place to protect the surrounding communities from noise and disruption.
Ivory’s Rock Conventions and Events is known for its peaceful serenity at Peak Crossing and has injected more than $163 million into the local economy since it opened in 1992.
It also holds regular international peace conventions which brings in around $5 million with every event.
The site, which recently opened a new camping ground facility, now faces the prospect of having more than 40 large freight trains passing by its facilities, 24 hours a day.
The Inland Rail project will deliver a 1,700km route to link Melbourne and Brisbane via regional Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland.
Ivory’s Rock Foundation spokeswoman Jan McGregor said the project’s Calvert-Kagaru section is proposed to be located only 500 metres from the nearest boundary of the IRCE property.
“Our priority at the moment is on the new camping grounds, because that’s just such a good bonus for the region and it’s a fantastic thing for the region, but it is an example of how the inland rail could impact us,” she said.
“It’s a very quiet, natural environment out there and the Inland Rail is going to cause a significant noise impact on the conference centre.”
There’s also concern about how the freight line will impact local koala habitat.
The Ivory’s Rock Foundation and other landholders in the area are waiting for the release of a draft Environmental Impact Statement to see how the surrounding areas will be protected, before making a full submission to the State Government.
“Moving freight around Australia by rail is a great initiative, but how do we protect the local communities along that alignment to ensure they’re looked after and protected, and Ivory’s Rock is just part of that Peak Crossing community,” Ms McGregor said.
Federal Member for Blair Shayne Neumann said the consultation around the project had been “pathetic.”
“(It’s) really difficult to see any form of method to mitigate the noise impact of the site,” he said.
“The elevated design of the track, it’s going to be six metres above the ground (which) makes the noise form the trains travel further.”
ARTC Inland Rail Director of Environment, Engagement and Property Rebecca Pickering said the corporation understood and acknowledged the community’s concerns.
“Since 2017, we have been actively engaging with communities and stakeholders in the Calvert to Kagaru (C2K) region to discuss project status, information about the draft Environmental Impact Statement, rail alignment, hydrology, noise and vibration, flora and fauna, property, traffic and road rail interfaces,” she said.
“We have held meetings with over 400 landholders, held quarterly meetings with the Scenic Rim Community Consultative Committee (SRCCC) and facilitated monthly working group meetings with councils in the region.
“ARTC is aware that the local community is concerned about a number of key issues. Not all impacts can be avoided, but the environmental and planning process sets strict maximum thresholds or outcome objectives for the mitigation of impacts, that the project must meet.”
She said Queensland was the biggest beneficiary of Inland Rail with an estimated 7200 jobs created from construction and more than $6 billion spent on construction.