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Land access agreement signals growing co-operation on inland rail

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14 May 2018

Land access agreement signals growing co-operation on Inland Rail

NSW Farmers Association and the Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC) have negotiated a new Inland Rail land access agreement, which both organisations are confident will serve as a platform for successful co-operation going forward.

President Derek Schoen said the land access agreement now clarifies protections for farmers and other landowners who will have people accessing their properties as part of studies and investigations for Inland Rail.

“We felt the original ARTC land access agreement template was overly simplistic and appeared to contain few protections for farmers and landholders”, Mr Schoen said. “Using our previous experience with land access agreements, we negotiated this updated agreement with the ARTC and we are now more comfortable with the revised template document.

“This updated template agreement provides, in our view, more clarity around protections for land holders than the original. We are comfortable endorsing this revised template agreement.”

The revised template agreement now limits farmers’ liabilities in the event of an accident on their property linked to work undertaken by the ARTC. It also clarifies that information gathered by the ARTC, or their contractors, from landowners is used only for the Inland Rail project - there can be no forwarding of information to other parties for other purposes. The agreement also spells out how the ARTC will remediate any earthworks it undertakes.

ARTC Inland Rail CEO Richard Wankmuller said he welcomed the positive contribution of NSW Farmers in achieving the revised land access principles and agreement form but recognised that the two parties had not resolved differences on other matters relating to the Narromine to Narrabri study area.

“I have sought and will continue to assure NSW Farmers and indeed all stakeholders that assumptions underpinning the study area selection were sound and the process of options assessment was rigorous, taking into account many suggestions from landowners and stakeholders.

“As we move forward the planning process helps ensure that we will work closely and cooperatively with all farmers and landowners to find design solutions and how farmers will be able to ensure their products can be loaded onto trains with access to Inland Rail, the location of crossing loops, the ability and ease of farmers moving across the line to properties either side of the line, and compensation arrangements for landholders.”

Mr Schoen said NSW Farmers’ support for Inland Rail is long-standing, but the practical elements of delivering the project meant the ARTC and Australian Government must engage on reasonable terms with landholders.

“I reiterate that it is important for Inland Rail executives to continue visiting impacted communities to hear their concerns first hand. In our meeting with the Deputy Prime Minister


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last week, NSW Farmers reiterated our desire for more detailed information and further analysis to be provided which supports the identification of the preferred route between Narromine and Narrabri.”

“Farmers and landholders are not being unreasonable in asking practical questions about how their farm businesses will be impacted by this project which has been promised to be a game changer for agriculture”, Mr Schoen said.

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Media contact: Laura Brice 0403 400 688 (ARTC)

Kathleen Curry 0429 011 690 (NSW Farmers)