LETTER: Unrest and uncertainty dog inland rail route

THE Toowoomba and Surat Basin Enterprise (TSBE) has raised serious concerns over a lack of consultative transparency by the Australian Rail Transport Corporation (ARTC) which may delay the keenly sought Melbourne to Brisbane inland rail route. 

Fears of a delay emerged following the tabling of a report by Southern Downs MP Lawrence Springborg in Parliament earlier this week, which neither TSBE or key stakeholders were made aware of. 

The report cast doubt on the preferred route. 

"They (ARTC) have consistently indicated that Millmerran was the preferred route and now it is revealed that they were aware of a report which indicated something contrary," TSBE Executive Chairman Shane Charles said. 

"Inland Rail is too important for ARTC to be stuffing it up. They have shown a poor ability to talk with stakeholders right throughout the region."   

Their lack of ability to communicate and be upfront has led to community unrest and uncertainty." 

Mr Charles says "We have previously raised concern with ARTC about their lack of consultation, and now this report comes out. 

ARTC has a lot of explaining to do and we are calling on ARTC Managing Director John Fullerton to front up in Toowoomba urgently." 

"If we have learnt anything in this region, during the resources wave of investment, is that proponents and government need to be up front and honest with the community." 

At the same time Mr Charles has praised the efforts of the regions Federal Members John McVeigh and David Littleproud who he says are 100% committed to the principle of Inland Rail and are doing all in their power to get clarity on "what on earth is happening". 

"I for one, will not stand by and let ARTC muddy the waters for this important project for regional Australia - if we lost momentum because of their ineptitude, we will be bitterly disappointed," Mr Charles said.   

Shane Charles

Exec Chairman Toowoomba

Surat Basin Enterprise