NSW Farmers and CWA combine in legal action against ARTC

NSW Farmers president James Jackson (left) is shown maps of the proposed rail line through Tondeburine, Gulargambone, by David and Cathy Peart. With them is the Association's Inland Taskforce chair, David Lyons and Dubbo branch chair, Shane Kilby in December, 2018.
NSW Farmers president James Jackson (left) is shown maps of the proposed rail line through Tondeburine, Gulargambone, by David and Cathy Peart. With them is the Association's Inland Taskforce chair, David Lyons and Dubbo branch chair, Shane Kilby in December, 2018.

The 'glossing over' of landholder issues along the Inland Rail corridor have seen the Country Women's Association of NSW (CWA) join forces with NSW Farmers' Association to progress legal action regarding the Australian Rail Track Corporation's handling of the Inland Rail Project.

The CWA of NSW and NSW Farmers say the move has been required because landholder issues along the Inland Rail are being completely glossed over and in some cases ignored by the ARTC when local landholders raise them.

CWA of NSW CEO, Danika Leys, said that situation was not acceptable.

"Landholders deserve and need certainty that this project is going to be constructed in the best available location and that any impacts they are asked to wear are appropriately compensated," Ms Leys said.

"We have members impacted right across the whole state alignment, but particularly within the Narromine to Narrabri section.

"Their concerns range from hydrological impacts, community impacts, land impacts and mitigation measures such as crossings and infrastructure.

"These are all very legitimate issues of concern and it is entirely reasonable to insist that the best available information is supplied to all those who stand to be affected by this project."

The organisations have engaged law firm Holding Redlich to approach ARTC highlighting in particular their concerns relating to the ARTC's hydrology modelling.

NSW Farmers' Inland Rail Taskforce chair, Adrian Lyons, said through sending legal correspondence to the ARTC they have clearly outlined the main concerns facing landholders along the proposed rail route.

Currently legal correspondence is focused on the NSW Orana and North West Slopes stretch of the rail route, between Narromine to Narrabri, however, both associations aim to for any positive developments would be mirrored in other parts of the infrastructure.

"We have stressed the need for transparency around the key documents underpinning the proposed route, particularly the hydrology modelling which to date has caused consternation in our members," Mr Lyons said.

Ms Leys said the legal action would hopefully develop a collective of landholders and community members who wanted to progress advocacy around Inland Rail.

"We encourage affected landholders to register their interest in joining ongoing advocacy efforts," Ms Leys said.

ARTC Chief Executive Officer Richard Wankmuller said the ARTC had met with NSW Farmers and had productive engagement going back to early 2018.

"We recognise that NSW Farmers has an important role in Inland Rail which is why I have engaged with them genuinely and consistently over the past two years," Mr Wankmuller said.

"We were able to come to agreement on land access protocols and principles and we have published the answers to all their questions in the past.

"We have met with over 100 of the farmers and landowners that we are working with collaboratively to deliver Inland Rail between Narromine and Narrabri in the past couple of months.

"Those are productive meetings, that will ensure that we can build Inland Rail to the highest standards while mitigating the impacts on those farmers.

"Working with farmers is the best way for us to ensure that we can mitigate their impacts and deliver Inland Rail to the highest standards."

This story NSW Farmers and CWA combine in legal action against ARTC first appeared on The Land.