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Monday, 21 May 2018
Page: 3831

Infrastructure

Dear Mrs Wicks

Thank you for your letter of 6 February 2018 to the Hon Barnaby Joyce MP, former minister for Infrastructure and Transport regarding Petition Number PN0201 on the Inland Rail corridor between the Queensland border and Gowrie.

In November 2016, the Hon Darren Chester MP, former Minister for Infrastructure and Transport, commissioned a like-for-like comparison of four Inland Rail corridor options between Yelarbon and Gowrie. A Project Reference Group (PRG) was formed to provide local community input to the review of the four alignment options.

It was outside of the scope of the PRG to examine options other than four corridors under review. These corridors were selected following years of studies by the Australian Rail Track Corporation as to viable corridors. The PRG met its Terms of Reference as members:

engaged in constructive discussion

facilitated information sharing with the wider community

saw a like-for-like review process

maintained confidentiality where required

reviewed and provided feedback on technical data, and provided information to the technical consultants

delivered a final report to the Minister through the Chair of the PRG

Following the like-for-like review process, the Australian Government chose to progress the study corridor via Brookstead, Pittsworth and the west Toowoomba industrial precinct. This corridor offers the best balance of environmental, community and economic factors, It:

has fewer community and property impacts than the Base Case Modified and Warwick options

provides the fastest transit time of the four options

is the least expensive of the alternative options to the Base Case Modified corridor

offers the strategic benefit of being located near the west Toowoomba industrial precinct, allowing Inland Rail to support and capitalise on growth in Toowoomba and the Darling Downs region

As part of the like-for-like review, all corridor options were costed using the same assumptions and to the same contingency level. Now that the study corridor has been identified, farther studies will be undertaken to locate the exact track alignment and develop appropriate design solutions. As these studies progress, costings will become more accurate. This process of refinement is normal for infrastructure projects.

Should you wish to discuss this matter further, my office can be contacted at (02) 6277 7820. Thank you again for raising this matter with me. Yours sincerely

from the Minister for Infrastructure and Transport, The Hon Michael McCormack MP