Richard Wankmuller, CEO Inland Rail, Australian Rail Track Corporation.
Richard Wankmuller, CEO Inland Rail, Australian Rail Track Corporation.

Senate Inquiry hears Inland Rail route is not set in stone

THE MAN in charge of Australian Rail Track Corporation's Inland Rail project has admitted that no section of the route was set in stone. 

Speaking at the Inland Rail Senate Inquiry in Brisbane yesterday, Richard Wankmuller also accepted that ARTC's original consultation with communities over the Inland Rail project was not up to scratch. 

Under questioning from inquiry chair Senator Glenn Sterle, he also said the current Inland Rail route was "not locked in", to cheers from the gallery. 

Mr Wankmuller said there were a number of areas where ARTC had concerns and that the one he was most concerned about was the Macintyre Floodplain. 

He said it was still possible the route could change if there were "public safety issues" in sections. 

Responding to questions about flood modelling on the Condamine Floodplain from Senator Susan McDonald, Mr Wankmuller said that in addition to ARTC's modelling, a Community Consultative Committee had requested an independent expert to look at the model - Dr John McIntosh - and that Millmerran's Hall family had also engaged their own independent hydrologist - Dr Sharmil Markar - to do the same. 

"We've taken on-board any comments we get in that process and try and update the model accordingly," he said.

Mr Wankmuller added that ARTC had a meeting with Dr Markar on Friday to "address some additional, what he called high-level concerns, to understand exactly what they are and make the appropriate adjustments". 

At the hearing in Millmerran on Wednesday, the senators heard from DA Hall and Co representative Adam Birch that ARTC's one in 100 year flood modelling was, at one property, projecting flood levels below the December 2010 surveyed flood level - identified as being "between a one in 50 and one in 100 year event". 

Inland Rail agreement signed: The moment on November 29 2019 where Queensland Transport Minister Mark Bailey and Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack sign the Inland Rail intergovernmental agreement.
Inland Rail agreement signed: The moment on November 29 2019 where Queensland Transport Minister Mark Bailey and Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack sign the Inland Rail intergovernmental agreement.