More money is being thrown at a $10 billion interstate freight rail project to speed up construction, but exactly where it will track across Queensland is yet to be worked out.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Monday announced $1.5 billion to fast track work on “shovel-ready” projects identified by state and territory governments.
Some of that money will go towards the government’s interstate inland rail project, which is federally-funded and under construction in some sections.
The Queensland government has backed the project, saying it has the potential to support thousands of jobs during construction, particularly in the state’s southwest.
“We want to see those jobs created sooner, but the federal government needs to resolve issues raised along the route, including by its own LNP MPs who have been calling for a review of the route,” Transport Minister Mark Bailey said.
Work is already underway on parts of the line in New South Wales however, it’s being held up in Queensland, where there is disagreement over the route it will take.
The line was initially drawn over the notorious Condamine flood plain, but farmers and residents from the Darling Downs region said a plan to build it on a levy bank would prove problematic.
They said culverts in the levy would become blocked by farmland debris, resulting in water building up and completely submerging the flood plain.
Those concerns sent government MPs, engineers and planners back to the drawing board.
Mr Morrison is also pushing for regulation, but it is unclear what impact this would have on projects in Queensland.