Members of the Narromine Rail Action Group held a protest rally to capture the ears of politicians visiting the region last week.
Government officials were greeted at the gates of Soul Food Depot by a number of residents banding together to encourage people to “lock the gate” in the hope to “re-route Inland Rail”.
High Park resident Jennifer Knop said it was a civil protest, where she was able to speak with government officials about concerns regarding the proposed eastern alignment of the Inland Rail.
“I spoke with the Prime Minister, who listened politely to our concerns regarding the Narromine to Burroway eastern route option,” she said.
“I discussed how this proposed route will cost 17 per cent, equating to $37 million more than the concept alignment initially proposed.”
Mrs Knop believes this is on top of a number of costs the Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC) will face with additional data that has not been properly taken into account.
“This alignment will increase cost to government and the Australian people by $37 million, and that is before adding on additional costs associated with the increased track length, transit time, construction costs and landholder impact, which was omitted during their Multi Criteria Analysis assessment.
“The evaluation and the re-evaluation of the assessment done by the ARTC has not fully accounted for all affected projected impacts. This money could be better spent elsewhere,” she said.
Concerned community members have installed 38 signs on local properties, with “many more to come”.
“The signs are part of our ongoing campaign to raise awareness of how strongly our local community feel regarding Inland Rail’s hasty and ill-considered proposal to go east of Narromine,” Mrs Knop said.
There has been much controversy over the Inland Rail Narromine section, when the federal government announced last December its preferred study corridor (about two kilometres wide in some areas), which hooks around the south-eastern edge of Narromine and takes in the “premier, small-block estates” of High Park and Villeneuve.
The ARTC, which is delivering the project, must still undertake field and geotechnical investigations, environmental studies and community consultation, and prepare an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) before the final, 40-60 metre wide rail line can be determined.
The Narromine Rail Action Group has requested Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Michael McCormack review the decision-making process.