COVID-19 confusion for 'essential' Darling Downs farmers

Inland Rail: COVID-19 confusion for 'essential' Darling Downs farmers

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Darling Downs farmers say the current Inland Rail route is at odds with producing food during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Darling Downs farmers say the current Inland Rail route is at odds with producing food during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Darling Downs farmers say the current Inland Rail route is at odds with producing food during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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DARLING Downs farmers say they are confused that the Federal Government is persisting with its "flawed" route for the Inland Rail at time when they are being told food production is essential as a result of the COVID-19 crisis.

Millmerran Rail Group chairman Wes Judd said the current route across the Condamine River floodplain threatened key farms and significant vertically integrated regional businesses with already developed, national food supply chains.

Mr Judd said despite food production being declared an essential industry, farmers and food processors on the floodplain appeared to a dispensable.

"At a time when Queenslanders - indeed Australians - are depending upon us to keep working and to keep supplying the essential foods to shops and supermarkets to feed the nation, we are under continued threat from ARTC's controversial route plans across the Condamine River floodplain," Mr Judd said.

"It's time for the Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack to pull ARTC into line and look at alternative routes between the NSW border and Toowoomba like (Agriculture Minister) David Littleproud has suggested.

"This work should start immediately as it would give farmers and local food processors confidence that the Federal Government was listening and actually considered them 'essential'."

Mr Judd said the Inland Rail should proceed along a route that maximised the economic benefit and minimised the economic and social impact to the region.

"The current route will wreak havoc for Queensland agriculture and undermine the vital food supply chain from farms to homes," he said.

Additional comment has been sought from Inland Rail builder ARTC.

The story COVID-19 confusion for 'essential' Darling Downs farmers first appeared on Queensland Country Life.

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