10 December: Council has made a submission to the Senate Inquiry into the management of the Inland Rail Project.
At this week's Ordinary Meeting, Councillors approved a Senate Inquiry submission into the management of the Inland Rail Project by the Australian Rail Track Corporation and the Australian Government.
With two Inland Rail projects passing through the Scenic Rim region, Mayor Greg Christensen said it was critically important Council provided a voice on maintaining the balance between economic growth and preserving the region's quality of lifestyle.
"Council is optimistic about the opportunities the Inland Rail project provides in terms of regional economic development, but understands the project in its current form provides concerns for members across the community," Cr Christensen said.
In the submission, Council has advocated for the use of bridges/over passes rather than the proposed level crossings to ensure the solution is future-proofed to manage the expected volume of rail freight traffic in the long-term.
"At this stage the design only consists of four bridges with level crossings identified on the other four road/rail intersections. This of course poses risks to our community's safety, and with more than 45 trains measuring almost two kilometres in length expected to pass through the region each day by 2040, level crossing delays pose major productivity issues for local businesses and residents.
"Also critically important to the safety of our communities is the need to invest heavily in upgrades to the already congested Mount Lindesay Highway due to the expected increase in heavy vehicle usage from the Bromelton Intermodal hub," Cr Christensen said.
Council has also raised concerns that the current design has not made any allowances to mitigate the adverse impacts of noise from the rail freight traffic.
"Council will continue to seek noise mitigating solutions from ARTC in order to preserve the quiet enjoyment of property and to maintain the region's reputation as a desirable eco-tourism destination," said Cr Christensen.
Council has also called out the short-sightedness of the current route planning, which does not align with the economic and nation building rationale behind the project.
"While Council understands there are jurisdictional constraints between the Queensland Government and the scope of the Inland Rail project, Council believes there are some missed opportunities with the current proposal.
"For one, the proposed Salisbury to Beaudesert passenger rail should be examined concurrently and the passenger rail corridor preserved for future development.
"Secondly the Kagaru to Acacia Ridge and Bromelton project is a sub-standard choice given the expected future freight task, the urbanisation throughout the corridor and the reliance on heavy road transport given the congestion of the current rail line to the Port of Brisbane.
"To plan for the long-term, and support successful import/export markets, it is critical the rail connectivity to the Port of Brisbane is highly efficient. Efforts and resources need to be dedicated to a greenfield rail corridor project from Kagaru to the Port of Brisbane to future proof this project," Cr Christensen said.
Council is committed to guiding and optimising the future economic prosperity of the region while preserving the region's natural assets and prime agricultural land.