Federal MP Scott Buchholz has urged the state government Co-ordinator General to declare the Kagaru to Acacia Ridge and Bromelton section of the Inland Rail a Co-ordinated Project.
Voicing the concerns of tens of thousands of residents in the Scenic Rim and Logan who will be affected during construction and beyond, the Member for Wright said the declaration of a co-ordinated project would ensure a stringent 12-18 month planning and environmental investigation process regarding the potential impacts was undertaken.
“I have met and listened to local residents over the past few months regarding the potential impact of Inland Rail through the Scenic Rim and Logan and I believe an Environmental Impact Statement will give an open and honest process to report of the potential impact of Inland Rail," Mr Buchholz said.
“If this project is declared, ARTC will then be required to prepare an Environmental Impact Statement for the section of the project between Kagaru to Acacia Ridge and Bromelton.
“An EIS is a legislative process which will control the outcomes in regard to the impacts if the project proves to be feasible and provide an opportunity for concerned locals to have their say in a constructive and informed manner.
“When completed, the conditions of the EIS will act as the community’s rules for the delivery of the project which includes the construction and operation of the rail line over its life.
“It is an important step in the project and I encourage all residents to play an involved and constructive role in the EIS."
The ARTC has applied to the Co-ordinator-General to find out if the project will be considered co-ordinated and if an Environmental Impact Statement is required, and is awaiting a decision.
Inland Rail chief executive Officer Richard Wankmuller said lodgement of an application for co-ordinated project status would trigger a decision from the Office of the Co-ordinator General on the approval pathway needed for the section of the project through Brisbane's southern suburbs.
"Community representatives have signalled to us that they would prefer a full EIS for this section of the Inland Rail and… the Bromelton Inland Rail Community Consultative Committee welcomed this action as a step forward," he said.
"We know the community is eager to find out what happens next and we will provide clarity as soon as we can."
Under the State Development and Public Works Organisation Act 1971 several factors may lead to a project being declared coordinated, including complex approval requirements, significant environmental effects and significant infrastructure requirements.
The Coordinator-General will consider these factors and then will decide whether an EIS or another mechanism is the best way to manage approvals for Inland Rail in this section.
“This is about making sure Inland Rail, which will provide the freight rail network needed to support a growing Brisbane, is delivered in a coordinated way, based on the best technical advice and with the community fully informed,” Mr Wankmuller said.
“Irrespective of any decision there will be a range of investigations undertaken to consider the potential impact of the project and how any impacts may be mitigated. These generally include geotechnical, flooding and hydrology, ecological, noise, air quality and vibration, and social and heritage studies.
“There is still around 12-18 months of comprehensive studies ahead of us on this section of Inland Rail.
“We will continue to provide information to the community through information sessions, advertising and the media as we want to take the community with us every step of the way."
Brisbane is the national headquarters of Inland Rail and Queensland will be the biggest beneficiary in terms of construction expenditure, future jobs and economic development.
Around 60 per cent of construction expenditure for Inland Rail is forecast for Queensland with 7000 jobs expected to be supported at peak construction.
The Kagaru to Acacia Ridge and Bromelton section consists of enhancements to, as well as commissioning of, dual gauge operations along 49 kilometres of the existing interstate route both south from Kagaru to Bromelton and north from Kagaru to Brisbane’s major intermodal terminal at Acacia Ridge.