The first Inland Rail Community Consultative Committee meeting in Narromine has taken place to discuss and share Inland Rail information between the project team and community representatives.
However, a Narromine resident is concerned these meetings are “unjust, unfair and biased” after being asked to leave the meeting on January 22.
The Community Consultative Committees (CCC) was established by the NSW Department of Planning and Environment to as a forum to communicate feedback, provide information, address concerns, and act as a conduit between the project team and the community.
The ARTC has set up a CCC for the Narromine to Narrabri project (N2N) and has appointed Michael Silver as the independent chair of the committee.
High Park resident and affected landowner Jennifer Knop, however, said she is concerned as an impacted community member why she is being denied to sit in on the meetings.
“I was sitting quietly in the back of the room waiting for the meeting to start when I was approached by Mike Silver the Chair and asked to leave,” Mrs Knop said.
Mrs Knop said she ultimately felt “bullied” by Mr Silver who told her that “this is not about landholders”.
NSW Inland Rail Stakeholder Engagement Manager Helena Orel said the ARTC are aware of the concerns raised about at the meeting on January 22.
“While the ARTC is comfortable for community members to attend the meetings the final decision rests with the chair and the committee,” Ms Orel said.
A spokesperson from the NSW Department of Planning and Environment said they are also aware of the concerns and are providing a response, however, said attendance by members of the public need to notify the chair before the meeting.
“The attendance of community members and landowners to the meetings is up to the consideration of the committee and the Chair and in the context of how they wish to run their meetings and achieve their objectives in the best possible way,” the spokesperson said.
“A member of the public was asked to leave the meeting venue at Narromine before the meeting as there had been no prior advice to the Chair of their proposed attendance.”
Ms Orel said the CCC is just one form of community consultation for ARTC to engage in the development of the N2N project.
“We continue to be available to meet engage and consult with all members of the community be that individually or in other forums and by request,” she said.
“The ARTC has held and continues to hold a number of community meetings and information sessions where all community members are welcome to attend to hear about the Inland Rail project and provide feedback.”
“The ARTC also participates in large community events to ensure we engage with as many members of the community personally as possible.”
She said they would be advertising for further additional committee members for the Narromine CCC and those with interest in representing their community are encouraged to nominate.