New South Wales
The following comments relate to ARTC’s decision to move the preferred alignment from the East (Base Case) to a new West alignment as submitted in the NS2B EIS.
In the face of repeated and frustrated community demands for ARTC to produce evidence for their alignment changes and decisions ARTC released the Inland Rail Melbourne to Brisbane Route History 2006 -2019 document in January 2020. This document was submitted by ARTC to the Australian Parliament Senate Standing Committees on Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport Inquiry ‘Management of the Inland Rail project by the Australian Rail Track Corporation and the Commonwealth Government’ as their account of the selection process used. The IR Route History document has been cited by ARTC at our Narromine to Narrabri CCC meetings as the definitive reference for all questions relating to route selection issues. It has also been referenced in recent CCC correspondence as being a foundational support document for IR Project EIS’s including the NS2B and pending N2N EIS’s.
In reviewing the IR Route History document after its release, I found multiple “historical” maps modified and misrepresented. I brought this to the Senate Committees attention as potentially false and misleading information tabled to Parliament and will be presenting information for the Senates consideration and review at the next available hearing. The presentation of deliberately false and misleading information to Parliament can be viewed as contempt.
At the N2N CCC meeting in February I brought some of the document’s N2N issues to the attention of other CCC members and representatives of the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications (DITRDC). The issues were clear and acknowledged by all those who reviewed them. I followed up the discussion with a formal email to DITRCC outlining my serious concerns regarding the accuracy and integrity of ARTC’s Senate submission and the Route History document, no formal response addressing those concerns has been provided to date (over six months now). I have however noticed that ARTC has quietly deleted the original document from their web site and substituted a modified document with some N2N maps corrected. The new document has no editorial reference to any of the changes made, even though the publication is ISBN registered. Our community is very familiar with ARTC failure to follow protocols particularly relating to consultation, procedural fairness and procedural bias. It is concerning to note ARTC can’t even be bothered to follow basic internationally recognised protocols for ISBN use (ie create a 2nd edition, describe the changes and register the document with a new ISBN).
My EIS attachment Appendix 1. contains evidence of falsified information in the IR Route History document specifically relating to the NS2B project. It directly relates the NS2B EIS Chapter 3 and SEAR requirement 2(g) describe how alternatives to and options within the project were analysed to inform the selection of the preferred alternative / option. The description must contain sufficient detail to enable an understanding of why the preferred alternative to and options(s) within the project were selected;
If it is found that ARTC have deliberately falsified information and data, the EIS must be rejected and the organisation held to account.