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, the focused area of investigation 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 focused 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. 

The EIS provides a comprehensive description of:

  • the project
  • current environment in the area of the project
  • all potential environmental impacts of the project
  • proponent proposals to avoid, minimise, mitigate and/or offset those potential impacts.

The impacts include direct, indirect and cumulative impacts resulting from the construction, commissioning, operation and decommissioning of the project.

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.

What stage is the project at in the EIS process?

The Coordinator-General issued the draft Terms of Reference (ToR) for the B2G EIS 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.

The draft EIS 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.

The design will continue to evolve during the EIS process, from the conceptual stage proposed in the Initial Advice Statement, through to the reference design (otherwise referred to as feasibility design) stage described in the draft EIS.

Detailed design will take place 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.

How will feedback be considered throughout the project?

Community engagement is vital to the development of the EIS and 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.

How can the community 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.

Road impacts

What is a public road crossing?

A public road crossing is where the rail and a public road intersect. Crossings may take the form of:

  • level crossings (including active level crossings with lights and boom gates, or passive level crossings with stop signs) 
  • grade-separated intersections (where the rail goes over or under the road).

Is ARTC closing roads?

We are gathering information about local roads to feed into the design of public road crossings. The community’s feedback will be considered, together with traffic counts and information from local councils and Queensland Government departments in designing public road crossings. We are also working with Emergency Services, bus operators and transport companies to ensure the community remains connected to essential services.

Safety is our number one priority. It may be necessary to divert or consolidate local roads to design safe rail crossing that meet the requirements of the Queensland Government and Rail Safety Regulator.

We will keep the community informed of any proposed changes to the road network.

Do you know which roads you are closing/changing?

The design for public level crossing is not completed or approved, and therefore at this stage we do not have a list of proposed treatments for the roads intersected by the B2G project. The data we are gathering is about existing road use which will be used to help inform design for public level crossings.

Will community access be maintained?

We are working with Emergency Services, bus operators and transport companies to ensure the community remains connected to essential services. The feedback that we are gathering will assist us to design public road crossings that keep communities connected. 

Will Emergency Services still have access?

Yes. We are working with Emergency Services, bus operators and transport companies to ensure the community remains connected to essential services.

Are you talking to the Department of Transport and Main Roads and council?

Yes. We are working with the Department of Transport and Main Roads and councils to understand the existing road use, potential future road use and to meet their requirements.

What information did you seek from the community?

We sought information from landowners and community members regarding travel routes, how often local roads are used and what types of vehicles use the roads (cars, farming machinery, trucks and other equipment).

How are you gathering feedback for road design?

The community’s feedback has been sought through meetings, pop-up consultation stands, CCCs, our interactive map, phone calls, emails and a flyer.

Community feedback is being considered, together with traffic counts and information from local councils and Queensland Government departments in designing public road crossings. We are also working with Emergency Services, bus operators and transport companies to ensure the community remains connected to essential services. 

How will community feedback be used?

Gaining a thorough understanding of how people use existing roads will help us to design public road crossings that keep communities safely connected.

How are changes to roads decided?

Any proposal to change public roads includes consideration for safety, sight distances at level crossings, traffic numbers, stacking distances, if alternative access is available and the distances involved. All changes proposed are subject to review and approval by the local road authorities through the EIS process.

Cultural heritage

How are we undertaking cultural heritage studies for the project?

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

Property access for technical and environmental studies

Why do we need to carry out studies?

The B2G project is in the project feasibility phase, and we are in the process of developing the 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 environmental 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?

Baseline noise levels and ecology surveys will be undertaken throughout the study area. Geotechnical investigations and water quality sampling will be undertaken to test the soil and groundwater conditions.

Other studies will involve surveys of cultural heritage, transport, social and socio-economic conditions, 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 if property access is required?

YYes. 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 can I contact to share my knowledge of the local area?

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 can I stay informed?

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

Who will own the Inland Rail 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 customers.

Employment opportunities

How can I 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.