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Community & Business

17 March, 2023

Inland Rail’s N2N approved at state level

The next stage of the Narromine to Narrabri (N2N) Inland Rail section has been approved at state level, however approval by the Commonwealth will reveal the final step.

By Emily Middleton

The N2N section has undergone various stages of local submissions and assessments, and after months of back and forth, the state approval was finalised last week.

This section includes 300 kilometres of new single- track rail line, through both private and public property. Despite the approval, local land holders are still not happy with some details.

“We just want it built in the right spot,” said affected land holder in Balladooran, David McBurnie.

“I would like to see it go onto the existing Coonamble line, that was one of their tracks originally, but in their so-called wisdom, they decided not to go on it as they claim it will take an extra 10 minutes to get to the destination.”

Late last year, Mr McBurnie and his wife Karen, made another submission to ARTC, outlining the vari- ous problems that would occur if the line did not remain on the existing track.

A significant cost to the business was a main con- cern, as the McBurnie’s would have to employee two extra staff to move stock across the rail line. The pro- posed 10 trains a day was also raised in the submission, stating the noise could significantly impact stud ewes while lambing.

“As far as I can see ARTC are trying to make farm- ers make a decision about their properties on a reference design and cannot tell us about the detail design as yet, which is quite disconcerting,” the submission read.

“Hoping the Department of Planning take on board these issues, and disapproves of the project in its current form, and move it back on existing track where it will benefit towns.”

While these concerns have not yet been addressed, the N2N Inland Rail is now awaiting it’s next step of approval.

“The project has now been referred to the Australian Government Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water for consideration under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999,” an Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC) spokesperson said.

Environmental assessments of the project discovered a number of endangered and threatened plant and ani- mals’ species, who’s native environments will be impacted. These include koalas, Corben’s long-eared bat, the superb parrot, the Australian painted snipe, the regent honeyeater, spiny peppercress, and the slender darling pea.

“Construction of the new Inland Rail track connect- ing Narromine to Narrabri will only proceed once envi- ronmental approval is granted,” said a spokesperson from the department of planning and environment.

“If approved, ARTC would need to prepare several environmental management plans in line with the department’s strict conditions, for a range of matters including noise, traffic, and community engagement.

“Noisier works such as piling, jackhammering and heavy vehicle movements through towns will not be allowed on Sundays, but approval conditions allow for quieter works on alternate Sundays, subject to ongoing community consultation. This aims to reduce the total length of construction.” 


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