Farmers look for answers on inland rail

Local farmers are growing increasingly frustrated over the lack of clarity surrounding the new line to be built between Illabo and Stockinbingal as part of the Inland Rail project.

Illabo harvester David Carter said that while local landholders had met with Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC) representatives twice, they still had not been informed of the specific proposed positioning of the track.

“It means there’s a lot of uncertainty around all of our farming operations into the future,” he said.

“Surely by now they should have it down to a more defined line, but they’re not letting anyone know where exactly that is. They need to get down to the nitty-gritty and tell people.”

Mr Carter said he was hopeful the shire’s farmers would avoid facing compulsory land acquisition.

“Hopefully it won't get to that stage and inland rail and the farmers can come to an arrangement,” he said.

“That’s what I'm hoping to achieve and what I’m working towards.

“But that can only happen if there's a bit of cooperation from both parties.”

Earlier this month, Mr Carter told The Daily Advertiser the infrastructure would be a “huge weight" off his shoulders and would make farming "quicker, cheaper and easier", provided farmers were properly consulted throughout its implementation. 

The ARTC did not provide a response before press time.

Meanwhile, Junee Shire Council director of engineering services Will Barton has confirmed the Kemp Street bridge is too low to accommodate the project’s double-stacked freight trains, which are set to run between Brisbane and Melbourne.

Mr Barton said the bridge would likely need to be raised to allow for the higher wagons, but added there was no commitment to this from the ARTC.

Federal treasurer Scott Morrison committed $8.4 billion to the project during the May budget in a bid to make the long-talked about project a reality.

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