Flood mitigation, noise levels and borrow pits were some of the key concerns raised at Inland Rail community consultation sessions held in Goondiwindi, North Star, Toomelah and Boggabilla last week.
A large number of people turned out to all four community consultation sessions, held in Goondiwindi on Monday, March 4, North Star on Tuesday, March 5, and Toomelah and Boggabilla, on Wednesday, March 6.
In addition to residents, a number of businesses and potential workers looking to explore opportunities with the Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC) also attended the drop-in sessions, run by ARTC's North Star to NSW/Qld Border project team members.
ARTC project manager John Carr said the consultation sessions are a great way to gain community feedback on the project.
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“Community consultation and input remains a key focus for Inland Rail so we held another round of community drop-in sessions to show what we have done recently and hear feedback on key topics including flood mitigation, noise levels and borrow pits," he said.
"We also sought feedback on the proposal for workers’ accommodation facilities to be located in North Star.
“The pop up sessions are just one way Inland Rail has been out capturing community feedback. Individual calls to landowners, on-farm meetings and the Community Consultative Committee process also feeds information back into the design process.
“We have also been working closely with local councils and government agencies, as ultimately we want to build the best possible rail line we can and we need local knowledge to achieve that.”
The North Star to Border project is currently in the project feasibility stage, culminating in the preparation of an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), which will be submitted to the NSW government to assess.
ARTC has so far completed a lot of the preliminary design work along the North Star to NSW/Qld Border project section for the Inland Rail including engineering, hydrological, geotechnical and other environmental studies to feed into the engineering design, as well as the EIS.
The North Star to Border project involves the construction of a new rail corridor approximately 39km in length, completing one of the key missing links for Inland Rail and providing a new, efficient connection between regional farms in the area and export markets.