Chisholm playing politics on inland rail project: O’Dowd
Federal Member for Flynn Ken O'Dowd has fired back at Labor Senator Anthony Chisholm after he labelled the government's Inland Rail 'a dog of a project'.
Senator Chisholm made the comment to The Observer following an Inland Rail round table meeting last week in Gladstone.
The meeting was also attended by Member for Gladstone Glenn Butcher, Gladstone Mayor Matt Burnett, CQUniversity Chancellor John Abbott and local economic groups.
Mr O'Dowd accused Senator Chisholm of playing politics over the issue.
"Senator Chisholm needs to stop playing politics with the people of Gladstone," he said.
"This is a very broad presumption and comment to make and simply not correct."
Mr O'Dowd said he had been a strong advocate for the Inland Rail project to be linked to the port city.
"I have been advocating for the inland rail link to come to Gladstone for many years now, along with Barnaby Joyce," he said.
"I will continue to do so with the support from local stakeholders such as the RDA, Gladstone Port Authority and CQUni."
Mr O'Dowd said the final route had not been confirmed and he would continue to push for the project to extend to Gladstone.
"As the route has still not been confirmed, I will not stop lobbying the Department of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development for them to consider Gladstone as an option although the AECOM preferability study did not support the route.
"The Inland Rail will also drive significant investment in regional communities, create local jobs and contribute millions to local and national economies."
Currently the Inland Rail project will finish at Gowrie Junction, north west of Toowoomba, according to the ARTC website.
The Federal Government will spend $20 million on a feasibility study into linking the inland rail, via underground tunnels plus new above ground lines, to the Port of Brisbane.
The Australian Rail Track Corporation says the 1700km fast freight backbone will connect Australia north, south, east and west.
"Inland Rail will better link businesses, farmers and producers to national and global markets," the ARTC said.
"1100km of the Inland Rail route is existing rail lines and infrastructure that will be enhanced and upgraded; 600km of track will be built in new rail corridors."
The 1700km Inland Rail is comprised of 13 individual projects across three states.
The NSW/QLD border section is the final leg of the journey.
"This section includes building 138km of new dual gauge track and upgrading 69km of track from the NSW/Queensland border, near Yelarbon, to Gowrie Junction, north west of Toowoomba," the ARTC said.