A $10 billion rail project from Melbourne to Brisbane will devastate Queensland communities if it is built on a notorious flood plain, say farmers.
About 200 residents from the Darling Downs made the three hour trip to Brisbane on Tuesday, demanding the government listen to their concerns about the Inland Rail Project being constructed over the Condamine flood plain.
The protest was organised by the Millmerran Rail Group – a local advocacy group from Millmerran – who are fearful of the proposed rail location.
Chairman Wes Judd told AAP residents in the area were not being listened to by the federal government.
“We know there are fatal issues and flaws with the assessments which have been done and they need to be corrected,” Mr Judd said.
“We want to make sure both sides in the parliament know and understand the thoughts and the wish of these people.”
The proposed route requires parts of the rail to be built on a levy bank with about 500 culverts to let flood water pass.
Farmers are concerned these culverts will be blocked by stubble – debris on farmland – resulting in water building up and completely submerging large areas of the Condamine flood plain.
Jason Mundt is a fifth-generation farmer from Millmerran, and said his late father witnessed their property flooded 38 times in his life.
Mr Mundt told AAP all but a few square metres of his 2300 acre property went underwater during the 2010-11 flood season, and feared the rail would make floods worse because the water would not continue to flow down stream.
“We are basically an inland sea once a normal flood hits,” he said.
“There will be more devastation with regards to infrastructure.
“It makes no sense to put a (rail line) across that area.”
Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese met with the rural land and business owners saying he would fight with them to change the rail’s proposed route.
Mr Albanese received a hero’s welcome when he addressed the crowd and said he did not support the rail across the flood plain, in Brisbane on Tuesday.
“At the moment it simply is going through the wrong route,” he said.
“You don’t build railway lines where they’re are going flooded out and where the lines are going to be cut.”