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Inquiry into Inland Rail supported by CWA of NSW State Conference in Albury
Kate Schwager

Inquiry into Inland Rail supported by CWA of NSW State Conference in Albury

The Country Women's Association (CWA) of NSW is seeking an independent inquiry into aspects of the contentious Inland Rail, including the funding model underpinning the project.

The issue was the focus of an urgency motion put to delegates at the CWA of NSW State Conference in Albury and was put forward by the North Star and Dubbo Evening branches.

Delegates heard the motion was in response to landholder concerns the 'green field' options - the sections of the Melbourne to Brisbane route that don't follow the existing rail corridors - for the proposed rail line have an unreasonable impact on the NSW properties through which it will pass and on surrounding agricultural businesses, with the creation of flooding risks in some instances.

"By taking this stand we are not rejecting the value of the project to rural and regional areas, and the national agricultural sector, but we are saying that aspects of the planning are flawed and have caused an enormous amount of unnecessary stress to affected landholders," CWA of NSW State President Annette Turner said.

"Prime agricultural land has been earmarked for the 'green field' sections of the project and we're arguing there's a better way in many instances. Our members believe an inquiry into the project is the only way of resolving these issues and ultimately getting the best result for our communities, our farmers and the agriculture industry.

"Currently there are still just too many questions around route selection, land acquisition and the availability of the necessary funding to complete this nation-building project. Inland Rail has an enormous price tag and enormous potential and we need to get it right."

NSW Farmers has already called for an independent inquiry into the selection of the Inland Rail route between Narromine and Narrabri and has welcomed the support of the CWA of NSW.

NSW Farmers' Inland Rail Taskforce chairman Adrian Lyons thanked the association for supporting its position and backing an inquiry.

"The support of the Country Women's Association adds further weight to NSW Farmers' call for a bipartisan inquiry into Inland Rail, no matter who wins the election," Mr Lyons said.

"You can support Inland Rail and still support an inquiry. NSW Farmers acknowledges the CWA's support."

 

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