Inquiry to scrutinise Inland Rail route selection, funding
THE route selection of the controversial $10 billion Inland Rail project will be the subject of an independent inquiry should Labour win the May 18 election.
Shadow Minister for Infrastructure, Transport, Cities an Regional Development Anthony Albanese made the announcement last Tuesday and said a Labor Government would appoint an "eminent Australian" to the task, if elected.
He said while Labour supported the project, community concerns needed to be addressed.
"If public confidence in this multi-billion dollar project is to be maintained we must get the planning and financing arrangements right,” he said.
"Equally, affected communities should be treated with respect and properly consulted.”
The independent inquiry would also assess the appropriateness of the current financing arrangements.
Former member for Lockyer and member of the Inland Rail Lockyer Valley Community Consultative Committee Ian Rickuss welcomed the announcement.
"I think this is an important process that the Australian Rail Track corporation needs to face up to,” Mr Rickuss said.
The former LNP politician called for the government to also support the inquiry.
"I don't think it matters whether it's Labour, Liberal or Calathumpians who are in power - I think this inquiry should go ahead,” he said.
"This is a disaster waiting to happen.
"I don't want my grandchildren and their grandchildren paying for it.”
ARTC was contacted for comment, however a spokesperson said the organisation was bound by Australian Government caretaker conventions which came into effect when the election was called.
"During this period ARTC is restricted in making comment on policy and political issues associated with the election,” the spokesperson said.
The inquiry would take public submissions and hold public meetings in affected communities.
It would have a reporting date of no later than the end of 2019.