Council and ARTC relationship goes off the rails
LOCKYER Valley Regional Council Mayor Tanya Milligan has lashed out at Australian Rail Track Corporation over its handling of the Inland Rail, claiming the relationship between the council and ARTC had been completely "derailed".
At a press conference yesterday morning, CrMilligan said she had lost faith and confidence in ARTC's processes.
"We've genuinely, hand on heart, been openly engaging with ARTC but I don't believe that has been reciprocated," Cr Milligan said.
"They are ticking boxes and just going through the process."
She said issues came to a head last week when workshops as part of the corporation's social impact assessment were announced, with the Lockyer Valley region missing out.
"They're doing one in Toowoomba, they're doing one in Ipswich and they're also doing one in Beaudesert, which tells me they're not being respectful of the community, they're not listening and just continually ignoring," she said.
Cr Milligan said ATRC wasn't listening to council concerns and input.
"I'm up to my eyeballs, we have done nothing but be transparent, be open, be engaging and we're at the stage where they are not talking with us, they are talking to us," she said.
The relationship has been further strained by a lack of information on the impact the project will have on level crossings in the region and the location of a passing loop on the route.
"They are 30per cent along the line with their alignment (and) there has been no disclosure for any passing loop," she said.
You can't get to 30 per cent and not have a very good idea on where that passing loop could be.
With plans for the major piece of infrastructure ramping up, Cr Milligan said the lack of information in the community was worrying.
She added this was hampered by ARTC having no permanent location in the region, despite having offices in Toowoomba and Brisbane.
"We've been asking for the last 12 months for an office space in our region because there's a hell of a lot of people in the community still asking questions."
Inland Rail Director of Community and Environment Rebecca Pickering said the corporation "highly valued" its relationship with the Lockyer Valley Regional Council.
"In the Lockyer Valley we have met with nearly 400 people at three community information sessions in the past week," Ms Pickering said.
"ARTC is also meeting one-on-one with landowners to listen further to matters of importance to them such as flooding, property severance, levels crossings and noise, all of which is fed into the design process.
"It takes time to get this right and as we enter this more detailed phase of studies for the Environmental Impact Statement we are taking care to engage with each individual landholder."
Ms Pickering said the social infrastructure assessment workshops, which initially caused the row with council were meetings aimed at government service providers such as emergency services, health and education.
The regional offices for these departments are largely located in Toowoomba, Ipswich and the Gold Coast and Ms Pickering said ARTC's intent was to make it easier for the organisations to attend the workshop by locating the workshops in those centres.
ARTC have confirmed it will hold a workshop in Gatton for local organisations and will be contacting them within the week to pass on relevant details.