THE third Queensland stage of the $10.9 billion Melbourne to Brisbane Inland Rail project has been declared a coordinated project by the state's independent Coordinator-General, with the next step including the preparation of an environmental impact statement.
State Development Minister Anthony Lynham said the $1.2 billion section covering 53 kilometres from Calvert to Kagaru consists of a new single-track dual-gauge line, including approximately 1.1 kilometres of tunnels through the Teviot Range at Woolooman.
"This section could create up to 1600 jobs during its four-year construction phase starting in 2020 and 700 jobs during operation for the entire program," Dr Lynham said.
"However this section will require rigorous planning and engineering to address the potential impacts on the rural community and small farms including minimising flooding impacts on properties along the alignment."
Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC) is delivering the 10-year program, which will carry 50 intermodal round trips between Melbourne and Brisbane each week by 2050. The program consists of 13 separate projects, including five in Queensland.
"The proponent has advised that the whole program is predicted to reduce rail freight times from Melbourne to Brisbane via Sydney by six hours, as well as reducing the freight task's carbon footprint by 750,000 tonnes per year," Dr Lynham said.
More information about the Queensland Coordinator-General assessment is available from the Department of State Development website at <http://www.statedevelopment.qld.gov.au/assessments-and-approvals/inland-rail-calvert-to-kagaru.html>.