LOGAN councillor Trevina Schwarz says she’ll be dropping in to have her say at an ARTC public information session about Inland Rail at Jimboomba today and she encourages others to do the same.
The Jimboomba councillor and city treasurer has real concerns about the project which is expected to bring as many as 64 double stacked freight carriages a day through Logan, the Scenic Rim and south Brisbane.
“We don’t want to hear it, we don’t want to see it and we don’t want to smell it,” Cr Schwarz said.
The information booth will be at Coles shopping centre, Jimboomba, today, Saturday, December 15, from 9am to 3pm. It is the third of three public information booths that have been held this week in Logan and South Brisbane. The first was at Calamvale; the second at Browns Plains.
The $9.3 billion nation building project will allow double stacked freight trains to travel between Melbourne and Brisbane in about a day. There will be coal trains.
About 50,000 Logan and south Brisbane residents live on the the 52-kilometre Kagaru to Acacia Ridge and Bromelton section of the Inland Rail. The number expected to triple in coming decades.
Cr Schwarz said the Inland Rail route for the Kagaru to Acacia Ridge and Bromelton line might already be a designated freight route but, like many others, she had real concerns that coal trains would be using the track.
“There is a huge concern about the running of coal on the rail and the health impacts that could have,” she said. “It really is a worry.”
Cr Schwarz also had concerns about the impact on wildlife as the volume of carriages increased on the route. The first double stacked freight carriages are expect on the route in the mid-2020s.
She did not know if she could trust ARTC, which manages the construction of the Melbourne to Brisbane line for the the Australian government, on issues like noise buffering.
Cr Schwarz posted this message on her Facebook page.
ARTC Rail: No Coal Thru Logan. It features some angry faced emoticons and a raging blaze.
Australia’s Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack turned the first sod on the project at Parkes, in Central NSW, this week.
Cr Schwarz said she wanted to be clear. She was in favour of passenger rail that could carry commuters through Logan to jobs. She said she did not want to see the two projects ‘mixed up together’.
“Logan City Council is doing everything it can to lobby to bring the Beaudesert to Acacia Ridge passenger rail forward and I’m in favour of that,” she said.
“The State government had previously said it would be delivered in 2031, then pushed it back to 2041. Logan City Council is pushing to bring that forward.
“We are also working with the State government hoping to bring in more bus services.”
Cr Schwarz said the council was pushing the Australian government and ARTC to do more advertising and more community consultation about the inland freight line.
“The Australian Government and ARTC need to take control of their community advocacy and let the community know what is going on,” she said.
“At the moment it is flying under the radar. The community seems to be unaware of what is happening. What happens when it is rubber stamped?”
Cr Schwarz said the provision of rail had nothing to do with local authorities, but ratepayers brought their concerns to the council, its staff and elected representatives because they were ‘at the front face’.
“We are happy to let people know what is going on,” she said.
“The frustrating thing, however, is the community is not fully conversant with which levels of government are responsible for what. Now the council is at the front face and we’re happy to get information out there to people, to push and advocate.
“The problem we have is that some people seem to think we are the delivery agency but that is not the case.
“People pay a range of taxes for the provision of services from various levels of government. They pay stamp duties on houses and also sorts of other taxes and fees and they are right to expect a range of services in return.
“The rates that come to council are a small proportion of the fees and taxes people pay to goverments, yet it is the council that is doing all the heavy lifting.”