Council raises concerns with Inland Rail project

Ipswich City Council has responded to the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the 47-kilometre Helidon to Calvert section of the $5 billion Inland Rail Project, highlighting the impacts on traffic and road safety of new level crossings, and risks regarding emergency management, noise and native flora and fauna among other issues in its submission to the Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC).

Council unanimously adopted the submission at a meeting on 22 July, referencing a proposed At-Grade Level Crossing at Grandchester Mount Mort Road and urging the ARTC to adhere to the objective of the Queensland Level Crossing Safety Strategy 2012 to 2021 to minimise any proposals to construct new crossings on a greenfield site according to its ‘zero-harm’ goal.

Land bridges for koalas were also raised as an area for action, given that fauna crossings are aligned with creeks and rail bridges under the current proposal, along with the need for accurate flood mapping and a long-term plan to address noise impacts on residents.

Mayor Teresa Harding said now is the time to set the terms to manage the impacts of Inland Rail.

“This is a major, national project which could have significant economic benefits for Ipswich and Queensland in terms of construction jobs and new precincts,” Mayor Harding said.

“However, it’s important we get off on the right foot, ensuring that impacts on Ipswich residents, local businesses and the environment are considered from the beginning.

“Residents have expressed concerns about the safety of the proposed rail level crossing, as well as discrepancies in the flood mapping used. Council’s response to the draft EIS is officially putting these concerns on the public record.”

The State’s Coordinator-General released the draft EIS for the Helidon to Calvert section of the Inland Rail project for consultation in March this year, with comment open to organisations and members of the public.

Council consulted with the Office of the Coordinator General, and other impacted councils, including Scenic Rim, Lockyer Valley and Toowoomba, Transport and Main Roads, and the Australian Department of Infrastructure in preparing the submission.

Council adopted a response to the EIS for the 53-kilometre Calvert to Kaguru section in March, highlighting the need for more information on traffic impacts and monitoring of air and water quality during the section’s construction and operation.

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