North Star to NSW/QLD Border

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The North Star to NSW/QLD Border (NS2B) project is approximately 39km in length, completing one of the key missing links in the Inland Rail program. The project will consist of upgrading approximately 25km of non-operational rail corridor and 14km of new track. We are currently working through the required environmental investigations and project reference assessments, which will form part of the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS).


The alignment

Since 2016, the Inland Rail Team has undertaken detailed field studies and consultation with landowners and local communities. This has helped us to understand the potential issues and opportunities around the Macintyre River crossing, which resulted in the study area being reduced to a 100m focused area in November 2018.

This focused area of study follows the existing disused rail corridor towards Boggabilla and then crosses the Macintyre River before joining the existing rail line in Queensland. The NS2B project will construct a new rail line in the existing corridor and over the Macintyre River.

The 100m focused area meets both engineering and operational requirements, while reducing environmental and social impacts. It also allows for future connectivity to Goondiwindi and the broader region.

Crossing the Macintyre

Inland Rail is progressing the Macintyre floodplain flood modelling and the reference design solution for crossing the floodplain.

We have developed a detailed flood model of the Macintyre floodplain catchment area. This is based off existing flood modelling information for the area, which was developed by the Office of Environment and Heritage (OEH). The model uses data from many different sources, all of which are included in the model. The model also considers the predicted future impacts from climate change.

Since August 2018, the project team have held meetings to validate the Macintyre flood model with landowners whose properties were surveyed for historic flood markers. To date the general feedback has been that the model reflects existing flood behaviour, however we will continue to review the model.

The project team will continue to liaise with directly-affected landowners, local flooding specialist, OEH and the broader community to incorporate their feedback and input into the reference design.

Progress

In April 2017, the Inland Rail team lodged a State Significant Infrastructure application (SSI) and a Scoping Report to the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment for the NS2B project. The Team also lodged a referral with the federal Department of the Environment and Energy under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act).

In June 2018, ARTC awarded a contract to Future Freight Joint Venture to complete reference, design and environmental assessment work. We are working together to:

  • manage the delivery of technical and environmental studies
  • produce a reference design
  • produce environment and primary approvals documents for submission to the NSW and Australian Governments.

This work gives us a better understanding of the project’s design requirements and builds on earlier investigations and community feedback. The investigations also help the team identify where in the focused area the final 40 to 60m wide rail corridor will be located.

In July 2018, the NS2B project was determined to be a controlled action and requires assessment and approval under the EPBC Act.

In August 2018, the Inland Rail team received the Secretary’s Environmental Assessment Requirements (SEARs) from the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment.

Environment planning and approvals

We are now gathering further information to feed into the upcoming Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). The EIS will outline potential impacts of the project for consideration by the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment and will also capture information gathered from consultation with landowners and other stakeholders such as councils, industry and the wider community.

Once completed, the EIS will be on public exhibition by the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment for a minimum of 30 days. During that time, community members and other stakeholders are invited to provide their feedback and make formal submissions, which will be considered by the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment. The Minister for Planning then makes a decision on whether to approve the project.

Next steps

The NS2B project is in the project reference stage, culminating in the preparation of an Environmental Impact Statement.

As part of this process we will continue to work with landowners, stakeholders and the community.

Community consultation

Local communities and landowners have been contributing to our understanding of the study areas since early 2016.

Since the approved proposed alignment was endorsed we have been meeting with local community, landowners and stakeholders to discuss next steps.

We encourage you to get involved in the process and invite you to contact the project team for more information and to provide feedback at any time.

Community Consultative Committee

ARTC has established a Community Consultative Committee for the NS2B project.

For meeting minutes, committee members and upcoming meeting details, please see the link below:

Community consultative committees are a forum where Inland Rail information can be shared between the project team and the community, topics of interest discussed, and issues and concerns addressed. The committees ensure that engagement occurs at all stages of a project and allows community representatives to share their knowledge and experiences on key issues.

Interactive map

We have developed an interactive map covering the North Star to NSW/QLD Border project, to help us get a better understanding of key issues from a community perspective.

The interactive map allows members of the public to have their say by simply dropping a pin on the map and adding a comment.

The map shows the current study area. As the project continues to develop, the map will be updated to reflect the latest design.

We appreciate you taking the time to share your feedback with us.

Access the interactive map here.

Contact us

You can have your questions answered about the project by contacting us directly, or asking us a question.

The North Star to NSW/QLD Border (NS2B) project is approximately 39km in length, completing one of the key missing links in the Inland Rail program. The project will consist of upgrading approximately 25km of non-operational rail corridor and 14km of new track. We are currently working through the required environmental investigations and project reference assessments, which will form part of the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS).


The alignment

Since 2016, the Inland Rail Team has undertaken detailed field studies and consultation with landowners and local communities. This has helped us to understand the potential issues and opportunities around the Macintyre River crossing, which resulted in the study area being reduced to a 100m focused area in November 2018.

This focused area of study follows the existing disused rail corridor towards Boggabilla and then crosses the Macintyre River before joining the existing rail line in Queensland. The NS2B project will construct a new rail line in the existing corridor and over the Macintyre River.

The 100m focused area meets both engineering and operational requirements, while reducing environmental and social impacts. It also allows for future connectivity to Goondiwindi and the broader region.

Crossing the Macintyre

Inland Rail is progressing the Macintyre floodplain flood modelling and the reference design solution for crossing the floodplain.

We have developed a detailed flood model of the Macintyre floodplain catchment area. This is based off existing flood modelling information for the area, which was developed by the Office of Environment and Heritage (OEH). The model uses data from many different sources, all of which are included in the model. The model also considers the predicted future impacts from climate change.

Since August 2018, the project team have held meetings to validate the Macintyre flood model with landowners whose properties were surveyed for historic flood markers. To date the general feedback has been that the model reflects existing flood behaviour, however we will continue to review the model.

The project team will continue to liaise with directly-affected landowners, local flooding specialist, OEH and the broader community to incorporate their feedback and input into the reference design.

Progress

In April 2017, the Inland Rail team lodged a State Significant Infrastructure application (SSI) and a Scoping Report to the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment for the NS2B project. The Team also lodged a referral with the federal Department of the Environment and Energy under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act).

In June 2018, ARTC awarded a contract to Future Freight Joint Venture to complete reference, design and environmental assessment work. We are working together to:

  • manage the delivery of technical and environmental studies
  • produce a reference design
  • produce environment and primary approvals documents for submission to the NSW and Australian Governments.

This work gives us a better understanding of the project’s design requirements and builds on earlier investigations and community feedback. The investigations also help the team identify where in the focused area the final 40 to 60m wide rail corridor will be located.

In July 2018, the NS2B project was determined to be a controlled action and requires assessment and approval under the EPBC Act.

In August 2018, the Inland Rail team received the Secretary’s Environmental Assessment Requirements (SEARs) from the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment.

Environment planning and approvals

We are now gathering further information to feed into the upcoming Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). The EIS will outline potential impacts of the project for consideration by the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment and will also capture information gathered from consultation with landowners and other stakeholders such as councils, industry and the wider community.

Once completed, the EIS will be on public exhibition by the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment for a minimum of 30 days. During that time, community members and other stakeholders are invited to provide their feedback and make formal submissions, which will be considered by the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment. The Minister for Planning then makes a decision on whether to approve the project.

Next steps

The NS2B project is in the project reference stage, culminating in the preparation of an Environmental Impact Statement.

As part of this process we will continue to work with landowners, stakeholders and the community.

Community consultation

Local communities and landowners have been contributing to our understanding of the study areas since early 2016.

Since the approved proposed alignment was endorsed we have been meeting with local community, landowners and stakeholders to discuss next steps.

We encourage you to get involved in the process and invite you to contact the project team for more information and to provide feedback at any time.

Community Consultative Committee

ARTC has established a Community Consultative Committee for the NS2B project.

For meeting minutes, committee members and upcoming meeting details, please see the link below:

Community consultative committees are a forum where Inland Rail information can be shared between the project team and the community, topics of interest discussed, and issues and concerns addressed. The committees ensure that engagement occurs at all stages of a project and allows community representatives to share their knowledge and experiences on key issues.

Interactive map

We have developed an interactive map covering the North Star to NSW/QLD Border project, to help us get a better understanding of key issues from a community perspective.

The interactive map allows members of the public to have their say by simply dropping a pin on the map and adding a comment.

The map shows the current study area. As the project continues to develop, the map will be updated to reflect the latest design.

We appreciate you taking the time to share your feedback with us.

Access the interactive map here.

Contact us

You can have your questions answered about the project by contacting us directly, or asking us a question.

  • Latest works notification

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    10 days ago

    Field investigations for the North Star to NSW/QLD Border project are increasing over the coming months. Read on for a snapshot of upcoming works.

    Terrestrial ecology field survey

    Works to assess the project footprint will include conducting protected plant and biosecurity surveys. Winter (July) and Spring (September/ October) field surveys are proposed.

    Geotechnical data collection

    Geotechnical data collection will continue across the corridor with work including access track creation, borehole drilling, auger hole drilling, ground vibration testing, geological mapping surveys, trench pit soil sampling, cone penetration testing. Investigation data will inform detailed design of earthworks and foundations for structures.

    Indigenous...

    Field investigations for the North Star to NSW/QLD Border project are increasing over the coming months. Read on for a snapshot of upcoming works.

    Terrestrial ecology field survey

    Works to assess the project footprint will include conducting protected plant and biosecurity surveys. Winter (July) and Spring (September/ October) field surveys are proposed.

    Geotechnical data collection

    Geotechnical data collection will continue across the corridor with work including access track creation, borehole drilling, auger hole drilling, ground vibration testing, geological mapping surveys, trench pit soil sampling, cone penetration testing. Investigation data will inform detailed design of earthworks and foundations for structures.

    Indigenous Cultural Heritage surveys

    These surveys may involve up to 10 workers carrying out walk-throughs on private and public land.

    Investigations will be undertaken between 6.30am and 6.30pm, Monday to Sunday, weather permitting.
    If you would like more information about our environmental field studies, please contact our engagement team on 1800 732 761 or email inlandrailqld@artc.com.au

  • Australian Government names Inland Rail as a priority project

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    10 days ago

    We welcome the Australian Government's announcement to streamline environmental approval processes as we work to create the right enabling environment to help us continue to deliver Inland Rail.

    With intergovernmental agreements signed with Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland state governments, Inland Rail has strong support to get on with delivering a fast freight backbone that will transform how we move goods around Australia.

    We are committed to ensuring our design meets the highest environmental, safety and community standards in line with state and Commonwealth approval processes and giving the public access to the best possible information about how Inland...

    We welcome the Australian Government's announcement to streamline environmental approval processes as we work to create the right enabling environment to help us continue to deliver Inland Rail.

    With intergovernmental agreements signed with Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland state governments, Inland Rail has strong support to get on with delivering a fast freight backbone that will transform how we move goods around Australia.

    We are committed to ensuring our design meets the highest environmental, safety and community standards in line with state and Commonwealth approval processes and giving the public access to the best possible information about how Inland Rail will be built.

  • Local mental health counselling available

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    10 days ago

    Mind Health is a free phone and online counselling program available to residents in the North Star to NSW/QLD Border project area. Mind Health is delivered by On the Line, an independent service funded by the Hunter New England and Central Coast Primary Health Network. Qualified counsellors can help with a range of mental health and wellbeing concerns which people may be experiencing.

    Support is available to anyone aged 15 or over, Monday to Saturday from 7am to 9pm. If you need assistance, call 1300 029 131 or visit mindhealth.org.au

    We encourage communities to pass these details on to...

    Mind Health is a free phone and online counselling program available to residents in the North Star to NSW/QLD Border project area. Mind Health is delivered by On the Line, an independent service funded by the Hunter New England and Central Coast Primary Health Network. Qualified counsellors can help with a range of mental health and wellbeing concerns which people may be experiencing.

    Support is available to anyone aged 15 or over, Monday to Saturday from 7am to 9pm. If you need assistance, call 1300 029 131 or visit mindhealth.org.au

    We encourage communities to pass these details on to local community groups and other networks.

  • Latest from your Community Consultative Committee

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    10 days ago

    The sixth meeting of the North Star to NSW/QLD Border Community Consultative Committee (the committee) was held online on 12 June 2020. Chaired by Michael Silver, the meeting was attended by representatives from Australian, state and local government agencies.

    James White, from Transport for New South Wales, updated the committee on the property acquisition process and Land Acquisition (Just Terms Compensation) Act 1991 (LAA).

    Alexander Scott, from the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment, updated the committee on the Environmental Impact Statement process, including public exhibition.

    Angela Doering, from the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications provided an...

    The sixth meeting of the North Star to NSW/QLD Border Community Consultative Committee (the committee) was held online on 12 June 2020. Chaired by Michael Silver, the meeting was attended by representatives from Australian, state and local government agencies.

    James White, from Transport for New South Wales, updated the committee on the property acquisition process and Land Acquisition (Just Terms Compensation) Act 1991 (LAA).

    Alexander Scott, from the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment, updated the committee on the Environmental Impact Statement process, including public exhibition.

    Angela Doering, from the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications provided an overview of Australian Government initiatives associated with Inland Rail.

    If you would like to raise questions at a committee meeting or follow up meeting discussions, please contact any of the committee members. Contact details, meeting minutes and presentations can be found here.

  • Latest updates – Macintyre River floodplain and EIS process

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    10 days ago

    We are consulting with the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment (DPIE) to determine the most appropriate level of engagement to support the project’s Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) public notification period, subject to COVID-19 social distancing restrictions.

    We anticipate the project’s draft EIS will be lodged with DPIE in August and will go on public exhibition by DPIE for a minimum of 28 days. For more information about the EIS process, please click here.

    Macintyre River floodplain consultation

    Local community consultation on the Macintyre River floodplain model and reference design is continuing. During a recent discussion with the Goondiwindi...

    We are consulting with the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment (DPIE) to determine the most appropriate level of engagement to support the project’s Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) public notification period, subject to COVID-19 social distancing restrictions.

    We anticipate the project’s draft EIS will be lodged with DPIE in August and will go on public exhibition by DPIE for a minimum of 28 days. For more information about the EIS process, please click here.

    Macintyre River floodplain consultation

    Local community consultation on the Macintyre River floodplain model and reference design is continuing. During a recent discussion with the Goondiwindi Regional Council, we agreed to help the Council facilitate a hydrological review of the Macintyre River floodplain model and reference design over the coming weeks.

    If you would like more information about this review or the project, please contact us on 1800 732 761 or email inlandrailqld@artc.com.au

  • EIS submission

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    about 1 month ago

    We have now completed and submitted the project’s draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) to the New South Wales Department of Planning, Industry and Environment (DPIE) for initial review.

    This review is an important step to ensure we have adequately met the Secretary’s Environmental Assessment Requirements, or SEARs, issued in August 2018.

    We expect the review will take about three months to complete, however DPIE ultimately determines this timeframe.

    At the same time, we’re addressing 52 community questions that relate to the hydrology and Macintyre crossing option.

    We continue to value local knowledge and have committed to key stakeholders, affected...

    We have now completed and submitted the project’s draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) to the New South Wales Department of Planning, Industry and Environment (DPIE) for initial review.

    This review is an important step to ensure we have adequately met the Secretary’s Environmental Assessment Requirements, or SEARs, issued in August 2018.

    We expect the review will take about three months to complete, however DPIE ultimately determines this timeframe.

    At the same time, we’re addressing 52 community questions that relate to the hydrology and Macintyre crossing option.

    We continue to value local knowledge and have committed to key stakeholders, affected landholders and DPIE that we will not progress to public exhibition of the EIS until these questions have been addressed.

    Click here for more information on how major projects are assessed in NSW.

  • Macintyre flood model update

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    about 1 month ago

    Earlier this year, Inland Rail CEO Richard Wankmuller and members of our leadership and project management teams met with representatives of Goondiwindi Regional Council, Moree Plains Shire Council, local flood specialists and concerned landowners about the Macintyre flood model and proposed crossing solution.

    Following this meeting, we received 52 additional questions about the proposed design. We’ve almost completed work to address these requests for additional modelling and design work and we expect to report

    We have also shared the findings of the Macintyre River flood model independent review completed by BMT Group with the above stakeholders. BMT concluded the Macintyre...

    Earlier this year, Inland Rail CEO Richard Wankmuller and members of our leadership and project management teams met with representatives of Goondiwindi Regional Council, Moree Plains Shire Council, local flood specialists and concerned landowners about the Macintyre flood model and proposed crossing solution.

    Following this meeting, we received 52 additional questions about the proposed design. We’ve almost completed work to address these requests for additional modelling and design work and we expect to report

    We have also shared the findings of the Macintyre River flood model independent review completed by BMT Group with the above stakeholders. BMT concluded the Macintyre River flood model is ‘fit for purpose’ and is suitable to use as a design tool for the Macintyre crossing solution.

    BMT’s report will be made publicly available with the release of the EIS.

    Feedback from the community and key stakeholders has helped us inform and refine the Macintyre flood model and crossing solution. We will continue to work closely with the community as we move into the next phase of the project.

  • Community Sponsorships and Donations round now open

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    about 1 month ago

    We’re inviting community groups and organisations to apply for round six of the Inland Rail Community Sponsorships and Donations program, which is now open, and runs until 31 July 2020.

    Inland Rail Director of Engagement, Environment and Property Rebecca Pickering said the grants could assist regional communities that have been heavily impacted by COVID-19 social distancing requirements.

    “Delivering Inland Rail is only possible in partnership with the communities in which we operate and supporting our communities’ sustainability is paramount,” Ms Pickering said.

    “A key commitment of Inland Rail is to leave a positive legacy along the rail corridor and the...

    We’re inviting community groups and organisations to apply for round six of the Inland Rail Community Sponsorships and Donations program, which is now open, and runs until 31 July 2020.

    Inland Rail Director of Engagement, Environment and Property Rebecca Pickering said the grants could assist regional communities that have been heavily impacted by COVID-19 social distancing requirements.

    “Delivering Inland Rail is only possible in partnership with the communities in which we operate and supporting our communities’ sustainability is paramount,” Ms Pickering said.

    “A key commitment of Inland Rail is to leave a positive legacy along the rail corridor and the Community Sponsorships and Donations program is just one example of how we ensure regional communities benefit from this unique project.

    “Projects funded represent a diverse range of initiatives such as upgrading community facilities, skills building in the areas of STEM education and inclusive events.

    “In the first three rounds of the program, Inland Rail donated $180,000 toward a range of events, projects and activities along the rail corridor including sporting groups, schools, men’s groups and Indigenous cultural groups, and we want this effort to continue.”

    Ms Pickering said the Australian Government had carefully assessed and prioritised the safe delivery of Inland Rail during the COVID-19 pandemic and ARTC considered programs to support local schools, community groups and associations more important than ever.

    “Because of the impact COVID-19 has had on our communities, we are specifically encouraging applications for projects that increase the capacity to deliver services during the ongoing pandemic or create online STEM programs for students while they are being home-schooled,” she said.

    “Other types of projects we’re looking to support include online literacy education programs for local communities or capital works which can be delivered by local tradespeople.

    “Schools, community groups and associations in regional communities across Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria can view the application criteria to tap into the Inland Rail Community Sponsorships and Donations Program for grants of between $1000 and $4000 on the Inland Rail website.”

    For terms and conditions and to access an application form, please visit inlandrail.artc.com.au/sponsorships or email enquiries to IRCommunitySponsorships@ARTC.com.au.

  • Northern NSW industries eye potential freight hub future – EY report

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    about 1 month ago

    Regional communities across Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland will benefit from a boost of up to $13.3 billion in Gross Regional Product over the next 50 years off the back of Inland Rail’s construction, according to a new report from EY (formerly Ernst & Young) on behalf of the Australian Government.

    The in-depth study by EY indicates how industry investment in infrastructure integrating with Inland Rail could generate billions in added value for regional communities over the first 50 years of the line’s operation.

    The long-term economic uplift is in addition to the $16 billion in gross domestic product...

    Regional communities across Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland will benefit from a boost of up to $13.3 billion in Gross Regional Product over the next 50 years off the back of Inland Rail’s construction, according to a new report from EY (formerly Ernst & Young) on behalf of the Australian Government.

    The in-depth study by EY indicates how industry investment in infrastructure integrating with Inland Rail could generate billions in added value for regional communities over the first 50 years of the line’s operation.

    The long-term economic uplift is in addition to the $16 billion in gross domestic product delivered by Inland Rail during construction.

    According to the report, Northern NSW could accommodate a network of inter-modal freight hubs which can sustain the prosperity of several growing industry sectors and service Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth in the first decade after Inland Rail becomes operational.

    The Parkes, Narrabri and Moree regions could emerge as rail-to-rail freight hubs with direct connections to Inland Rail and the Newell Highway for industry sectors including transport, logistics, warehousing, food processing and manufacturing.

    The EY report suggests abattoir and grain mill expansions may also emerge within the first 10 to 30 years of Inland Rail operations to support increasing domestic and export demand for northern NSW meat and grains.

    Primary producers in the Narromine and Narrabri regions could also potentially benefit from the easier access to processing centres which Inland Rail will support.

    Click here to read the full report.

  • Upcoming works notifications

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    about 1 month ago

    The North Star to NSW/QLD Border team will be in the field during June and July. We’ll be doing surveys within the study area, including on public land, road reserves and the rail corridor. Investigations on private property will be arranged on a voluntary basis with individual landowners. All investigations are weather permitting.

    Works will include:

    Geotechnical site investigations
    Identifying potential locations to carry out geotechnical surveys. Work will involve teams walking across properties undertaking visual inspections and photographing sites.

    The North Star to NSW/QLD Border team will be in the field during June and July. We’ll be doing surveys within the study area, including on public land, road reserves and the rail corridor. Investigations on private property will be arranged on a voluntary basis with individual landowners. All investigations are weather permitting.

    Works will include:

    Geotechnical site investigations
    Identifying potential locations to carry out geotechnical surveys. Work will involve teams walking across properties undertaking visual inspections and photographing sites.