General

What is the NSW/QLD Border to Gowrie project?

The NSW/QLD Border to Gowrie (B2G) section is one of 13 projects that complete Inland Rail. It comprises approximately 146km of new dual gauge track and 78km of upgraded track from the NSW/QLD border, near Yelarbon, to Gowrie Junction, north west of Toowoomba in Queensland.

What is the study area?

On 21 September 2017, the Australian Government announced that the corridor via Brookstead, Pittsworth and the Wellcamp-Charlton Industrial Precinct is the preferred study area to progress to detailed design and move into the formal planning and approvals process. The study area for the NSW/QLD Border to Gowrie project is two-kilometres wide.

Were other study areas considered?

In October 2016, the Australian Government announced there would be an assessment of three alternative corridors of the Inland Rail project between the Queensland Border and Gowrie Junction, near Toowoomba.

The alternative corridors were compared against the Base Case Modified corridor on a like-for-like basis. 

The four options were:

  • Corridor 1: Base Case Modified – Yelarbon to Gowrie Junction via Millmerran
  • Corridor 2: Base Case Modified (as above), with a connection to Toowoomba Enterprise Hub and Charlton
  • Corridor 3: Yelarbon to Gowrie Junction via Karara, Leyburn and Felton
  • Corridor 4: Yelarbon to Gowrie Junction via Karara, Clifton and Wyreema and utilising the existing rail line close to Warwick.

Each of the corridor options was assessed against the service levels that Inland Rail needs to deliver to freight customers. This includes key elements such as:

  • a transit time of less than 24 hours between Melbourne and Brisbane
  • 98% reliability of service and,
  • A service cost comparable to, or better, than road transport.
The Australian Government’s decision on the preferred study area also incorporated other community-based feedback, the work of the Yelarbon to Gowrie Project Reference Group and the report of its independent chairman.

What is the focused area of investigation?

Following the Australian Government’s announcement of the two-kilometre wide study area for the B2G project in 2017, the community has requested ARTC to provide more clarity to the impacted landowners.

As a result, we have prioritised planning, environmental and engineering studies over the past year to enable us to narrow the area of investigation, which varies in width depending on the area, constraints and results from initial design investigations. 

The project team has been in contact with all landowners within the focused area of investigation. If you would like to know more about where your property lies in relation to the focused area of investigation, or wish to organise a meeting, please contact the project team by phone 1800 732 761 or email inlandrailqld@artc.com.au.

Will the focused area of investigation area change?

Since the project team is continuing to develop the design and the focused area of investigation, these may change as a result of ongoing investigations or government approvals. ARTC will continue to engage with landowners and key stakeholders and keep communities up-to-date about any changes to the focussed area of investigation.

Environmental Impact Statement (EIS)

What are the Approvals Pathways?

The Queensland Coordinator-General has granted ‘Coordinated Project’ status to the NSW/QLD Border to Gowrie project. This means the Inland Rail team needs to prepare an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS).

A project is declared a ‘Coordinated Project’ if it has one or more of the following features:

  • complex approval requirements, involving local, state and federal governments
  • significant infrastructure requirements
  • significant environmental effects
strategic significance to the locality, region or state, including for the infrastructure, economic and social benefits, capital investment or employment opportunities it may provide.

What is the EIS process?

The Coordinator-General issued the draft Terms of Reference (ToR) for public comment on 5 May 2018, with the closing date for comments on 18 June 2018. The ToR were finalised in November 2018.

The Inland Rail team is progressing the planning, engineering and environmental impact studies to develop the draft EIS. During this phase, we will provide regular updates on our progress and speak with communities to gather more information.

As part of this process, matters of national environmental significance will be assessed under the Commonwealth Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999.

These studies will inform the preparation of a draft EIS, which will be released for public review and submissions. We encourage you to be involved in the process and invite you to contact the project team for more information, or to provide feedback.

Evolution of design during the EIS process occurs from the conceptual stage proposed in the Initial Advice Statement, through to reference (or otherwise referred to a feasibility) design stage described in the draft EIS.

Detailed design will commence after EIS approval. The conditions and recommendations in the Coordinator-General’s report on the EIS, and other subsequent permit and approval conditions, will input into detailed design.

Will your feedback be considered throughout the project?

Community consultation is vital to the success of Inland Rail. Your input can shape project development and we welcome your participation. ARTC is committed to working with stakeholders at every stage of planning and development of the project.

What is the feedback mechanism for the community to raise questions/concerns about the project?

The EIS process includes two formal public comment periods:

  • draft Terms of Reference (ToR): COMPLETED
  • draft EIS exhibition period: TO BE CONFIRMED. 

A revised draft EIS may be released, but only if required by the Coordinator-General.

The Inland Rail project team is also available to meet stakeholders during all phases of the project.

To organise a meeting, please contact the project team by phone 1800 732 761 or email inlandrailqld@artc.com.au.


Cultural Heritage

How are we undertaking cultural heritage studies for the project?

ARTC is consulting with the recognised Aboriginal party for the project area.

Property access for environmental studies

Why do we need to carry out studies?

The B2G project is currently in the project feasibility phase, and we are in the process of developing the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) and a feasibility design for the project. The aim of this phase is to gather baseline data, analyse potential impacts, develop mitigation measures to address these impacts and to refine and finalise the optimal alignment. During the preparation of the EIS, the project team will be conducting a range of investigations throughout the project study area. 

There will be a range of consultation opportunities throughout this phase, and we encourage you to be involved to ensure community issues and concerns are considered and addressed in the EIS and feasibility design. 


What do these studies involve? What is the process? What equipment is required?

Baseline noise levels, ecology surveys or water quality sampling and geotechnical investigations informing the soil and groundwater conditions, will be undertaken throughout the study area. 

Other studies will involve the following surveys: cultural heritage, transport, social and socio-economic, land use, and landscape and visual amenity. 

Not all of these studies require field work, as some can be done using existing data. Information about the type of activities to be conducted is provided in more detail with any land access negotiations, including anticipated timeframes, hours of work, types of equipment and vehicles to be used. 


Will the project team contact you to arrange access to your property to do these studies?

Yes. Access to property is by agreement only and requires ARTC to secure a signed Property Access Form by agreement with the landowner. Times for the various investigations will need to be agreed upon with the landowner prior to the required access. 


How many times will the project require access to a property?

This will vary from property to property depending upon the nature of the studies proposed to be undertaken. The project team will discuss these details with you during their initial discussions. 


Will information be available to you once studies on your property have been completed?

Typically, information from studies will be available when the draft EIS is published.


Environmental Impacts

How will Inland Rail manage noise?

Inland Rail crosses three states with differing rail noise management regimes. To ensure a consistent approach across the three states as well as meeting state specific requirements, ARTC is in the process of preparing an overarching operational noise management strategy, which will be made publicly available in due course.

Detailed field investigations will be undertaken as part of the EIS and will be used to develop a specific noise mitigation strategy. There are multiple treatments options available to mitigate noise and these will be investigated during the next phase of the project.


Community Engagement

Who from ARTC Inland Rail can I contact to share my knowledge of my property and the surrounding community, including about previous flooding events?

We encourage you to be involved in the development of this project and invite all landowners and the community to contact the project team to share your knowledge and provide feedback about the project.

Please contact the project team at any time by phone 1800 732 761 or email inlandrailqld@artc.com.au.


How will ARTC inform you about the project?

ARTC will provide regularly updated information in both traditional and digital formats.  We encourage everyone who is interested in receiving project updates to register your contact details with the project team via the registration form on our website.


Asset Ownership & Operation

Ultimately, who owns the infrastructure?

It is envisaged that the land will be owned by the Queensland Government and leased to ARTC. ARTC will operate and maintain the infrastructure. ARTC will manage the railway and interaction with the customers.


Employment Opportunities and Community Impacts

How can you submit an expression of interest for employment opportunities with the Inland Rail Project?

Information on current employment vacancies can be found on the Inland Rail website. On our ‘Work with Us’ page, you’ll find details on how to apply for positions with our construction contractors, as well as information about key fields needed to be filled as a priority.

Many opportunities will become available over the coming years, you are encouraged to check our website regularly to ensure applications for vacancies of interest are not missed.