Inland Rail could ‘annihilate’ Southern Downs family farm
A young Southern Downs family says their property could be "annihilated" if the Inland Rail route comes within 600m of their house.
Inglewood's Woodspring Farms owners Ben and Sarah Eisel spent 10 years growing their regenerative business and BnB but the family claims the $14.5 billion proposed Inland Rail track would see it destroyed.
The latest Environmental Impact Statement from Inland Rail developers ARTC would see a level crossing placed at the end of their driveway of the 'residential sensitive receptor'.
"It's saying if you're an Australian and do everything right and work your a** off to get your piece of paradise, someone could come along and say it's all worth nothing now," he said.
"We put all our money into this place, we've got nothing left, and it's all for nothing."
The "frustrated" pair fear the plans in the latest EIS could also cause long-term health effects for themselves, their four children and neighbours.
"The train horns will be the same volume as an alarm clock going off, every hour," Mr Eisel said.
According to Mr Eisel, the sound would go beyond recommended levels which could "disturb cortisone levels" and sleeping.
The National Rail Safety Regulator had also firmly committed to "no new level crossings" in light of their documented dangers.
Mr Eisel said he would like to see the plan moved west, into the "less productive" Bringalily State Forest but feared the developers were more concerned with "nickel and diming" the project to consider the option.
Previously Goondiwindi Regional Council had also pushed for ARTC to also go through forestry land.
It is estimated the alternate route would cost $130 million but Mr Eisel said only minor changes like a small shift to the western side of Milmerran Rd would ease the majority of concerns.
"A large part of our frustration is that no costing exists for a scenario where they don't put the train next to our house but there are many options available," he said.
"Every single time, the council or anyone has managed to organise a review into the route or evaluate something, the only factor seriously taken has been the cost.
"The only reason they're trying to take that land is it is flat and cleared in order avoid any land works.
"It seems cheaper to steamroll landholders and take their land instead."
An ARTC spokesman said the route was developed after extensive Australian Government analysis and consultation with the state government, freight and logistics sector
"Segments of the Inland Rail route have been independently reviewed to give local communities and industry stakeholders confidence that all routes have been properly considered," he said.
"No route changes have been recommended as a result of these reviews. ARTC supports the route, as proposed, and will work with the Queensland Government (through the Environmental Impact Statement process) to support the planning and approvals phases of the Queensland sections of Inland Rail.
"The community can make comment on issues such as noise through the EIS process, which is open for public comment until April 19, 2021."
Ahead of the April deadline and weekend information session, Mr Eisel hoped he could educate more residents of the large scale effects involved in the route.
"The reality is they've completely annihilated value of our property, will force us to move, and they're taking no responsibility," he said.