Landowners are rejoicing their win, with a new agreement set to protect their rights with Inland Rail officially in writing.
Following a Senate recommendation, ARTC Inland Rail and NSW Farmers Association have engaged in open discussions aimed to improve interactions and relationships with landowners, and as a result, a new information pack has been released.
“The agreement says the ARTC and their contractors have to interact with landowners, for things such as abiding by a land owners biosecurity requirements, access times and points of entry, notifications they are to be given, and the remediation of any damage done while they’re coming onto the property.” said Peter Wilson, Chairman NSW Farmers Inland Taskforce.
Part of the Inland Rail process requires contractors to investigate, survey and take soil samples of the land before acquiring it. However, with this new agreement, they need to treat a little more carefully, as landowners expect more transparent, fair, and honest treatment.
“If any landowners finds its not being adhered to, it’s there in writing, the steps they need to follow. They can show this and what they have agreed to.” said Mr Wilson.
“There is big concerns and a lot of anxiety, and we hope this agreement can relieve some of that.”
The release of this joint information pack provides mutually beneficial solutions which enable the safe and efficient delivery of Inland Rail for the benefit of the New England North West, and all of regional Australia.
“ARTC Inland Rail is delighted to have worked with NSW Farmers Association to produce this information pack for property owners on the Inland Rail route,” said Rebecca Pickering, Acting Chief Executive with Inland Rail.
“We have worked very closely with the NSW Farmers Association to develop an improved understanding of how we can work more effectively together and deliver better outcomes for property owners.”
“We are confident that this information pack that we have developed with NSW Farmers Association will be a valuable resource for property owners and will help them better engage with Inland Rail.”
NSW Farmers acknowledge the progress made after several years of enquiry and look forward to the partnership ahead.
“I think it’s a big step forward. It is in writing; we can show it to their face and there is a complaints procedure if they don’t meet it,” Mr Wilson said.
“The proof will be in the pudding on how this agreement filters down to the people on the ground.”
However, not all issues have been addressed. Route alignment and compensation were not up for discussion with this agreement or the senate enquiry.
“It’s a big thing to find out you are suddenly going to have a railway line through your place, that you didn’t have before.” Said Mr Wilson.
“We would like to see the government put for funding towards issues like compensation, fencing and crossings, and all of those areas that directly affect our members.
When completed, the Inland Rail project will connect Melbourne to Brisbane with a heavy freight line.