INLAND RAIL: Industry urges govt to 'just get on with it'
TOOWOOMBA business and industry groups have lashed out at the political divide brewing over the controversial Inland Rail route from the state border.
Calling for politics to be put aside and works to progress on the route from Yelarbon to Gowrie, Toowoomba and Surat Basin Enterprise executive chairman Shane Charles said political pressure on the Federal Government to change the alignment was doing a "great disservice" to the region.
Maranoa MP David Littleproud and others broke party ranks this week, calling for Federal Infrastructure Minister Darren Chester to review the decision he handed down last month.
"The campaign by these MPs on changing the corridor a month after the decision for this once-in-a-lifetime infrastructure project is a great disservice to our region," Mr Charles said.
"This was obviously a tough decision by Minister Chester and Cabinet after a long process of detailed discussions, but it's time to get on with the job."
"This Yelarbon to Gowrie decision gives certainty to developers and investors to select their land and project plan with knowledge of the track alignment and future opportunities."
AGT Foods Australia CEO Peter Wilson said any project delays would impede commercial competitive in the region.
"The corridor decision has already undergone a transparent process," he said.
"You're not going to keep everyone happy all of the time, so a project like this will never get built and we'll still be talking about alignments in 50 years if they don't get on with it.
"We have the momentum in government now to develop this region and get the project moving, it's too risky to stall it."
Mr Wilson said through Inland Rail, AGT Foods could send their freight on rail to access export ships leaving the Port of Brisbane.
"For us the option for containers to go by train in Narrabri to the Port of Brisbane and cycle the containers through would mean that centres like Moree and Goondiwindi could expand," he said.
"We'd be able to take trucks off the road through rail container movements, an efficient supply chain that is currently really struggling in Australia.
"If we all agree our export future relies on reaching those destinations fluidly and efficiently, we've got to get Inland Rail moving."
FKG group manager property development Dallas Hunter said there were enormous opportunities for regional Queensland which will be put in jeopardy by indecision and lack of final details of the Border to Gowrie route.
"There is the creation of jobs and millions of dollars of investment which is about to be finalised on the back of Minister Chester's announcement last month which will now be in danger of being lost," Mr Hunter said.
"There is a principle about regional economic development which is advocated by MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) 'that government need to set the table - then get out of the way'. Minister Chester needs to stand by his decision which was based on over 12 months of additional studies."
FKG is a local investor and property developer and one of the biggest farmers on the Darling Downs.