Motion for LGNSW Annual Conference 2018

As part of the LGNSW Annual Conference 2018, the following motion submitted by Gilgandra Shire Council was considered and adopted:

27 Gilgandra Shire Council                                                       Inland rail consultation process

That Local Government NSW make representations to Federal Government and the Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC) in relation to the Inland Rail issues such as transparency, accountability and the consultation process.

Note from Council
Impacted landowners believe there has been insufficient investigation into the 2017 alignment option with little understanding of the potentially severe impacts to their properties, businesses and lifestyle by creating an entirely greenfield rail line through prime farming and grazing land. Further, where possible, the lnland Rail project should utilise the existing rail alignments to reduce impact on landowners. This has been communicated verbally on numerous occasions in meetings with ARTC and also formally in letters to ARTC and to former Minister Chester.

It is unclear if these approaches have been duly considered and whether previous Ministers have understood the scale of the impact of this project on the entire Gilgandra Shire community (approximately 95km of greenfield rail with a potential to directly impact over 100 individual properties and indirectly impact a far greater number).

The key areas of concern are a lack of:
• consistent stakeholder engagement (ad hoc visits, sometimes several months apart, with little communication between visits).
• a visible presence - all engagement is carried out by staff who drive or fly in. There is no presence or point of contact in the community and impacted landowners have to ring a number or email to relay their concerns.
• a clear and concise timeline of decisions.
• access to experts and staff with decision making authority.

Further to this, Council and NSW Farmers have requested technical details that justify ARTC’s decision to nominate the proposed inland rail study corridor. Any responses received have been ambiguous and evasive. A simple language response for communities justifying why the proposed study corridor within the Narromine to Narrabri (N2N) section doesn’t utilise the existing rail corridors is required.