Statement by NSW Farmers’ Inland Rail Taskforce Chair Adrian Lyons on Deputy PM visit to Gilgandra
NSW Farmers looks forward to the Deputy Prime Minister’s visit to Gilgandra on 22 November. Mr McCormack’s visit comes five months after he promised NSW Farmers that he would re-visit the region to talk to a deeply concerned community about inland rail and its impact on local communities.
The $10 billion inland rail is strongly supported by NSW Farmers – however, our members and impacted communities have deep concerns about the way the project is being managed and the way the preferred route has been selected.
The town hall meeting that Mr McCormack will attend is an important opportunity for the community to ask questions and share their concerns about the route selection and the process toward construction of the inland rail.
While the meeting takes place in Gilgandra, in the middle of the Narromine to Narrabri section, it is clear that the concerns of farmers across New South Wales and southern Queensland will be on the agenda. NSW Farmers understands farmers will attend from as far south as Cootamundra and as far north as southern Queensland to speak with Mr McCormack and air their grievances.
Landowners remain anxious about the selection of the route, are concerned that answers to simple questions remain unanswered and that those planning and building the inland rail are not listening to local knowledge as we move toward construction.
Those attending tomorrow want a frank discussion, answers and recognition of concerns. No one will accept spin.
The inland rail must be constructed to benefit regional Australia – it should invest in regional communities to grow and thrive into the future. With a lack of socio-economic analysis underpinning the selection of the route between Narromine and Narrabri, it is clear that questions about the real benefit to the impacted communities deserve proper answers.
Further, the railway line will traverse significantly flood-prone areas and landowners have raised concerns about the impact of the line on flood plains and water flow. Growers say that the government and the Australian Rail Track Corporation is not listening to their concerns, potentially sacrificing prime agricultural land for the sake of saving money in construction of the line.
Mr McCormack, the local member for Parkes, Mark Coulton, and the CEO of Inland Rail, Richard Wankmuller, must come to this meeting armed with the facts. They must listen to the concerns of landowners and promise to meaningfully address issues raised on behalf of their constituents.
They should be open to considering a change in the route if that will deliver benefits to regional Australia.
Twelve months on from the Government’s decision to select a route – a route which the affected landowners have expressed deep concern about – the community wants those who made the decision to answer their questions. The meeting in Gilgandra is this opportunity.
NSW Farmers’ members will be attending the meeting – our members look forward to answers to their many outstanding and unanswered concerns.
Date: Wednesday 21 November 2018
Media Contact: Kathleen Curry | Public Affairs Director | 0429 011 690