Inland Rail Community Consultative Committees to meet for the first time in Queensland
12 December 2017
Joint release with:
Minister for Finance
- Four regional committees established for Queensland Inland Rail projects
- More than 120 nominations received for membership
- First meetings held on the 13 and 14 December in Inglewood, Pittsworth, Gatton and Yamanto
Four Inland Rail Community Consultative Committees will meet for the first time in Queensland, following a commitment by the Government and the Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC).
Following a nomination process, and consultation with the local Members of Parliament and community leaders, independent chairs have been appointed to the committees of up to 16 members (biographies are below):
- Chair of the Southern Darling Downs Committee Mr Graham Clapham
- Chair of the Inner Darling Downs Committee Professor Steven Raine
- Chair of the Lockyer Valley Committee Dr Mark Hohenhaus
- Chair of the Scenic Rim Committee Ms Katherine Bensted
Federal Minister for Infrastructure and Transport, Darren Chester said the committees would be another channel for direct feedback and information sharing between landholders, local businesses, residents and the ARTC.
“ARTC has delivered on my commitment to establish Inland Rail Community Consultative Committees for greenfield projects in Queensland before the end of 2017,” Mr Chester said.
“With over 120 nominations received for membership of the committees, I want to thank community members for their continued participation and passion for the iconic Inland Rail project.
“I expect the ARTC to listen closely to the feedback of these committees who will bring important local experience to the development of the final alignment and design which will mitigate impacts on farms and the environment, including on the Condamine floodplain.
“I will also be asking the Chairs of the committees to report to me every six months to receive their views directly, and to be aware of how the consultation process is going and of any issues.”
Federal Finance Minister, Mathias Cormann said community consultation plays an important role in the project.
“Queensland stands to gain thousands of jobs and more than $7.2 billion in economic activity from Inland Rail,” Mr Cormann said.
“There will be many opportunities to comment, provide feedback and make formal submissions as the Inland Rail projects progress in Queensland.”
ARTC Inland Rail Division Chief Executive Officer Peter Winder said ARTC was committed to extensive landholder and community consultation.
“I've spent a lot of time in Queensland, particularly over the last couple of months, talking directly with landowners. What I hear over and over is that people recognise the huge benefits that Inland Rail can bring to their regions,” Mr Winder said.
“ARTC is focused on designing the best possible project and contributing to the vitality of communities where Inland Rail operates, so it is vital to have as much community input as possible to achieve that.”
The geographically-based committees will focus on the Inland Rail projects in their local area, with committee members gathering and disseminating information throughout their community and then presenting those views to the committee.
Observers are welcome at committee meetings and registrations are recommended. Committees are expected to meet on a quarterly basis.
For more information about the committees, including meeting minutes visit: Inlandrail.com.au or call: 1800 732 761.
**NOTE: Biographies of the new independent chairs are below.
Southern Darling Downs CCC
Mr Clapham has experience in irrigation and broader agriculture, being a long term farmer in the Southern Darling Downs. He has extensive experience as a company Chair and as a Director of the peak industry body Central Downs Irrigators Limited. He Chaired the Floodplain Committee, which dealt with local law and regulation on any floodplain developments.
Inner Darling Downs CCC
Professor Steven Raine
Professor Raine established University of Southern Queensland (USQ) Agricultural Value Chains Research Group, and was the USQ lead in partnering with Toowoomba and Surat Enterprises (TSBE) to establish Food Leaders Australia—to develop the export of value added product to Asia.
He was appointed the inaugural Executive Director of the USQ Institute for Agriculture and the Environment in 2013.
Lockyer Valley CCC
Mr Hohenhaus is an Associate Professor in Animal Science at the University of Queensland. He also Chairs the Teaching and Learning Committee of the School of Agriculture and Food Sciences at UQ.
Mr Hohenhaus runs Valley Livestock Services, consulting on livestock management for peri-urban farmers.
Mr Hohenhaus was the 2016 Lockyer Valley Citizen of the Year.
Scenic Rim CCC
Ms Bensted served as a Councillor on both Scenic Rim Regional Council and Boonah Shire Council. Her service as an elected representative included management of community portfolios including health, culture, the Fire Brigade, environment and sports.
Ms Bensted is a member of the Queensland Utilities Reference Group.
Ms Bensted is the Chair of the Ipswich & West Moreton Regional Development Australia Board