Border to Gowrie

On 21 September 2017, the Minister for Infrastructure and Transport, the Hon Darren Chester MP, announced that the Border to Gowrie corridor via Wellcamp and Charlton will proceed to the planning and approvals phase.

Minister Chester wrote to 8,500 landowners along the four corridor options to advise them of the outcome PDF: 2855 KB ReadSpeaker .

The Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC) has committed to prioritising engineering studies on the Condamine River floodplain section of the Border to Gowrie study corridor.

ARTC is delivering Inland Rail on behalf of the Australian Government.

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Background on the corridor

Border to Gowrie is one of 13 projects that makes up the Melbourne to Brisbane Inland Rail Program which will provide freight rail transport through regional Australia.

The Border to Gowrie project starts at the New South Wales/Queensland border, east of Goondiwindi, and finishes at Gowrie west of Toowoomba. The project corridor combines the results of two Inland Rail alignment reviews, namely North Star to Yelarbon and Yelarbon to Gowrie.

For state planning purposes, the section of Inland Rail previously known as North Star to Yelarbon has been split into the Queensland project Border to Gowrie (which includes Yelarbon to Gowrie) and the New South Wales project North Star to Border.

For further information:

Study corridor

Between December 2016 and April 2017 four corridor options (2km wide study corridors) between Yelarbon and Gowrie underwent a review to determine which option to take to detailed design, planning and approvals phase.

The preferred, 2km wide study corridor was confirmed on 21 September 2017. It runs from the New South Wales/Queensland border to Gowrie in Queensland.

The study corridor will be refined through the planning and approvals process to an approximately 40 to 60 metre wide alignment.

The study corridor for the Border to Gowrie project goes via Inglewood, Millmerran, Pittsworth, Southbrook, Wellcamp and Charlton. Through the alignment review, it was found to have the following benefits:

    • fewer community and property impacts than the Base Case Modified and Warwick options.
    • the fastest transit time of all four options, which may assist in maintaining service reliability and availability.
    • the least additional expense above the Base Case Modified option.

It also has the strategic benefit of going via the west Toowoomba industrial precinct, which includes InterlinkSQ, Witmack Industrial Park and the Wellcamp Airport. This will allow Inland Rail to capitalise on and support the long-term growth of Toowoomba and the Darling Downs region.

This aligns with the Australian Government’s commitment to invest in and support the growth of regional communities.

This map PDF: 1227 KB ReadSpeaker was produced by AECOM/Aurecon for the Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC).

Next steps

The planning and approvals process will involve seeking a declaration from the Queensland Coordinator-General and the Australian Government Minister for the Environment and Energy. If Border to Gowrie is declared a Coordinated Project, the Coordinator-General will release a draft terms of reference for the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for public comment. This process takes approximately 12 to 18 months to complete.

To ensure the views of the community continue to be heard, Community Consultative Committees will be established by ARTC to provide feedback from landholders, businesses and residents.

Australian Rail Track Corporation

ARTC's role is to progress the Border to Gowrie project as the Inland Rail delivery agency for the Australian Government.

The Border to Gowrie project will be subject to planning and approval requirements under Australian Government and Queensland Govenerment legislation. This includes completing an EIS.

ARTC is working with communities and affected landowners along the study corridor to arrange land access, conduct field studies, and increase understanding of the planning and approvals process.

ARTC will be holding information sessions on the EIS process and the project. Visit inlandrail.com.au/B2G for the most up to date information.

Planning and approvals

ARTC will conduct investigations along the study corridor to refine the corridor to a nominally 40m wide alignment based on the best engineering, environmental, economic and social outcomes. These investigations are an important step in determining potential impacts and mitigation measures.

An EIS is required under both Australian Government and Queensland Government legislation and is expected to take approximately 12 to 18 months to finalise.

There will be a number of formal and informal opportunities for public comment throughout this phase and ARTC will work closely with communities and affected landowners along the study corridor.

Queensland Government requirements

Before an alignment can be finalised for construction in Queensland, a detailed EIS must be completed by ARTC and evaluated by the Queensland Coordinator-General.

For more information on Queensland's assessments and approvals process, visit statedevelopment.qld.gov.au/assessments-and-approvals/the-coordinated-project-process.html

An example of the matters that may be considered as part of the Border to Gowrie EIS assessment can be found in the terms of reference for the Helidon to Calvert Inland Rail project. These terms of reference are available at statedevelopment.qld.gov.au/assessments-and-approvals/inland-rail-helidon-to-calvert

Australian Government requirements

The Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act) is the Australian Government's central piece of environmental legislation.

If the Minister for the Environment and Energy deems the project likely to impact matters of national environmental significance, it will be declared a Controlled Action. The EIS will then address the Australian Government and Queensland Government requirements under the one EIS.

This provides for a single environmental assessment process. At the completion of the assessment, the Queensland Coordinator-General will provide a report to the Australian Government assessing the likely impacts of the project on matters of national environmental significance.

Following the assessment stage, the Australian Government and Queensland Government will each make a decision on project approval and conditions to meet specific requirements. This may result in two approval decisions and two sets of conditions.

For more information on the Australian Government's environmental approvals under the EPBC Act, visit environment.gov.au/epbc/one-stop-shop

Property and land acquisitions

Once the EIS is complete and the corridor has been refined to a final alignment, property acquisition requirements will be known. ARTC is currently working within a two kilometre wide study corridor, which will be refined to an approximately 40–60 metre wide alignment.

During this phase, ARTC will complete detailed social, economic and environmental studies, and develop a reference design for the project. The aim is to refine and finalise the alignment taking into consideration possible impacts on property holdings.

Land acquisition processes for Inland Rail are currently being negotiated between the Australian Government and Queensland Government.

Social and community support

The Australian Government understands that there has been uncertainty for many living in the region during the Yelarbon to Gowrie alignment review.

There are many support services available, both through Australian Government agencies and local organisations.

The Australian Government funds a range of ongoing Community Mental Health and Families and Children Activity services throughout Australia, delivered by the Department of Social Services.

Contact us for more information

Australian Rail Track Corporation

ARTC is the delivery agency for Inland Rail and is the first point of contact for questions about the project and community consultation.

Email: Inlandrailenquiries@artc.com.au
Phone: 1800 732 761
Post: ARTC Inland Rail
GPO Box 14
SYDNEY NSW 2001

Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development Inland Rail

Email: inlandrail@infrastructure.gov.au
Phone: 02 6274 6683
Post: Inland Rail Unit, Stakeholder Engagement Section
Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development
GPO Box 594
CANBERRA ACT 2601