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Rail line concession doesn't go far enough

The Lock the Gate Alliance welcomes the announcement by Deputy Premier Jeff Seeney yesterday that important horticultural areas will be excised from the Galilee Basin State Development Area (SDA), but says that the rest of the SDA is equally poorly planned and will cost the state too much in lost agricultural land and productivity.

Last night Jeff Seeney announced in a press release that important horticultural areas around Bowen would be excised from a proposed SDA, after a Lock the Gate report released Monday revealed that the productivity of over 250,000 ha of Good Quality Agricultural Land would be put at risk by the SDA.

“It’s clear that Deputy Premier Jeff Seeney and his department are doing planning on the fly. They have caused enough damage with this SDA experiment already and need to scrap that plan entirely,” said Lock the Gate Alliance, Central Queensland Spokesperson, Ellie Smith.         

“We applaud Mr Seeney’s humility in admitting when he’s wrong and acknowledging that the planned SDA is already causing uncertainty, stress and financial harm for landholders within it.

“The government and companies have other means to negotiate access for rail lines if and when it is necessary.This SDA is a poorly planned overreach from the State Government and should be scrapped immediately.”


For further comment contact Ellie Smith, Central Queensland Coordinator, Lock the Gate Alliance 


Notes about the Galilee Basin SDA:

  • The SDA 'precincts' (as shown in the Draft Development Scheme) affect more than 260,000 hectares of agricultural, pastoral or potential cropping/horticultural land.
  • More than 500,000 hectares of the SDA regularly experience flooding and there have been 57 tropical cyclones that have passed within 200km of it since 1906. The construction of railway lines across major floodplains will substantially change surface water flows and lead to altered flood patterns.
  • None of the rail projects proposed comply with appropriate State Planning Policy for floods, bushfires and landslides, or recent Australian engineering standards.
  • Only 1 in 20- or 1 in 50-year flood events have been planned for, and not the larger floods which pose the greatest risk to landholders and communities.
  • Such negligent cost avoidance puts at risk the communities of the region, its infrastructure and agricultural productivity.

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