Rickuss goes full steam ahead at preventing Inland Rail
THE proposed Inland Rail between Helidon and Calvert will make "Laidley shake”, according to Lockyer MP Ian Rickuss.
The 47km of new dual gauge rail line connecting Helidon and Calvert through the Lockyer Valley has just been declared and is now waiting for the Inland Rail team to prepare an Environmental Impact Study.
But Mr Rickuss fears the proposed freight rail will have a catastrophic impact on the Lockyer Valley, in particular the Laidley township.
"The real problem with it is its going straight through new blocks of land,” he said.
"They're talking about building this track eight metres high at the Valley Vista estate on the outskirts of Laidley.
"When these trains go through Laidley, it will literally shake.”
Not only could the community feel the impact of the 3.2km long trains, but unless designed properly, Mr Rickuss believes it could cause further concerns for flooding in the Lockyer.
"We have enough trouble with the old embankment now,” Mr Rickuss said.
"Most people have put up with it because it's been there for about 150 years, but they're not going to put up with the new one.”
The new 1700km freight rail line could see freight delivered between Melbourne and Brisbane via regional Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland in less than 24 hours.
Mr Rickuss said the Inland Rail wouldn't just impact the Laidley region, but also hundreds of thousands of residents in the Logan and Brisbane region.
Instead, he suggests the rail should run from Toowoomba to Gladstone.
"The people of Logan and Brisbane will also be very upset when they get these trains rattling through their area,” Mr Rickuss said.
The government owned Australian Rail Track Corporation manages 8500km of rail network nationwide and has been tasked with getting Inland Rail construction-ready.
The Inland Rail will comprise of approximately 1200km of existing rail corridors and about 500km of new corridors, where new tracks will need to be built.
But Forest Hill resident Gordon van der Est believes the current line should be fixed before building a new one.
"If we did that, it would fix the flooding problem and the majority of it would be federally government funded,” Mr van der Est said.
"I think it would be good to get transport ministers Jackie Trad and Darren Chester in the same to discuss how about we use the ARTC rail line as an opportunity to fix both lines.”
Since the declaration by the Queensland Coordinator General of the Helidon to Calvert as a declared coordinated project, ARTC's community engagement team has been making contact with communities through letters to impacted landowners in the Study Area and newsletters to the wider community.
An ARTC spokesperson said the Gowrie to Grandchester protected corridor was an existing and long-standing protected rail corridor set aside by the Queensland Government in 2003.
"(It) has been freely available to see on Queensland government mapping services since that date,” the spokesperson said.
They said the ARTC had spoken with Mr Rickuss and many MP's in the lead up to the project declaration.
"Flood modelling and mitigations was discussed in these meetings and any concerns will be addressed as part of the EIS,” they said.
"Issues regarding flooding and flood mitigation and flood engineering solutions for any infrastructure project must meet stringent regulations prior to final approvals.
A number of community consultation will be held during April throughout the Lockyer.
- Helidon - Tuesday April 6, from 3pm to 7pm at the Community Centre
- Forest Hill - Monday April 10, from 3pm to 7pm at the School of Arts Hall
- Gatton - Tuesday April 11, from 3pm to 7pm at the Cultural Centre
- Laidley - Wednesday April 12 from 3pm to 7pm at the Laidley Cultural Centre