A year ago, the Inland Rail project seemed to be full steam ahead. However, the Australian Rail Transport Corporation’s (ARTC) progress has been slower than expected.
The project, which is set to connect Melbourne and Brisbane via 1,700 km of railway track, travels largely through regional towns and is causing headaches for landowners who feel the ARTC is not adequately consulting with landowners and ignoring the potential environmental impacts of the project. Some landowners are even reportedly “shutting the gate” on preliminary investigations as much as possible, in an attempt to force ARTC’s hand when it comes to negotiating what many consider to be sensible and obvious compromises.
Earlier in the year, the public was able to make submissions to the coordinator-General to be considered alongside the ARTC Environmental Impact Statements (EIS) for the Calvert to Kagaru portion of the corridor. An EIS provides an analysis of the existing environment in the project area, the potential impacts of the project on the environment and the proposals to avoid, minimise, mitigate or offset those impacts.
Despite the ongoing EIS process, the ARTC is working with the Queensland Government to fast track its planning approvals and “lock in” the route. Once finalised, landowners will lose any hope of negotiating a realignment that reduces the impact on their land. This will essentially mark the commencement of the compulsory acquisition process and we expect that shortly after a Queensland Government authority will be appointed to facilitate and negotiate land resumptions, including by issuing notices of intention to resume.
Following the receipt of a notice of intention to resume, landowners will be able to either:
- agree to the acquisition and proceed with the preparation and submission of their compensation claim; or
- prepare a written objection within 30 days and try to contest the resumption.
Landowners are entitled to reasonable costs for the preparation and filing of their compensation claims. We strongly suggest that those affected by the project begin engaging professionals to assist them to assess their compensation entitlements and to progress their claims.
How can we help?
Thynne + Macartney prides itself on its advocacy for landowners and in recent years has assisted with resumptions for powerlines and railways.
Author: Harriet Adcock (Lawyer)