Written by Bryce Heaton, edited for online by Toby Crockford
A Federal Government proposal for a freight rail connection from the Port of Brisbane through the eastern suburbs has drawn concern from local residents.
The connection is part of the Turnbull government’s $600 million budget commitment to an inland freight rail connection from Brisbane to Melbourne.
The plan, which has bipartisan support, would have serious impacts on the environment and residents if it ran along the Gateway and Logan Motorways, according to opponents.
Bulimba Creek Catchment Coordinating Committee president Michael Petter said a rail line through the area would put several vulnerable species, such as koalas and sugar gliders, at risk.
“It would be a complete attack on our remaining nature conservation assets in this region,” said Mr Petter.
Not only would animals would be affected, but conservation work would also be undone.
“Obviously as it goes along the Port of Brisbane Motorway, it could potentially affect one of our rehabilitation projects, where we have spent a decade restoring salt marshes and mangroves down there,” said Mr Petter.
Labor MP Graham Perrett’s electorate of Moreton is a key battleground in the Federal election and home of the proposed link at Acacia Ridge.
He highlighted the importance of the project to Queensland, but also the need to satisfy local residents.
“We need every chance we get to put jobs into Queensland, we also need to ensure we get the environmental balance right,” said Mr Perrett.
Glenn Millar, a sales associate in real estate and head of the Eastern Suburbs Community Forum, said the impact on property near the line would be huge.
“You can look at between a 10 to 20 per cent drop in value, compared to what that property would get in a quieter street,” said Mr Millar.
Other than the noise, a major issue is coal dust and Mr Millar said there has been many instances of dust coating back yards in Wynnum.
Local resident Henry Gorniak, who lives less than 800 metres from the proposed route, was open to the idea of the rail line if correct measures were taken to suppress noise, but was wary of the dust problem.
“We currently see on existing train lines a big issue regarding dust suppression, where they’re not covered up, so unless those areas were dealt with, I believe you would have opposition to it,” said Mr Gorniak.
Whilst he wasn’t available for comment, Deputy Mayor Adrian Schrinner has shown major concern with the plans and stated on social media that he would be seeking as much information as possible following the federal budget.
Alternatives to the plan include a costly 17-kilometre tunnel from the Port to Acacia Ridge or an upgrade of the already heavily congested line.