PEAK agricultural bodies have welcomed an at-times scathing Senate report into the federal government's management of the Inland Rail project.
NSW Farmers and the NSW Country Women's Association (CWA) have celebrated the 211-page report released last week that provided a scathing assessment of the management, lack of public consultation and budget blowout for the 1700-kilometre rail line proposed to connect Melbourne and Brisbane.
NSW Farmers Inland Rail taskforce chair Adrian Lyons said the inquiry, chaired by WA Labor Senator Glenn Sterle, had addressed issues his organisation had been raising for the past six years.
"NSW Farmers have been raising many concerns in relation to this project for over six years now, and this is the first time that we have actually felt heard, and where we have seen the concerns of our members reflected in the findings of a government process," Mr Lyons said.
"ARTC have continually had a 'crash or crash-through' mentality when it comes to the execution of this project. Well today [Thursday]; they have crashed - in a major way."
NSW CWA chief executive officer Danica Leys echoed Mr Lyons' sentiments and said both parties would call on the federal government to act on the report's recommendations to improve the project.
"The publication of this report strongly vindicates our work and the concerns that have been expressed by our respective members," Ms Leys said. "The project has become a basket case of mismanagement and budget blowouts, combined with a total unwillingness from the project proponents to listen to community concerns."
However, federal Transport Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce backed the project, saying he was not surprised a Labor-run committee would deliver a scathing report.
You can't be surprised when Labor Senator Glenn Sterle says nasty things about you because he is the opposition and that is his job.Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce
"You can't be surprised when Labor Senator Glenn Sterle says nasty things about you because he is the opposition and that is his job," Mr Joyce told the Leader.
"What annoys me about the inquiry is the fact the Labor party never built it, but now we're trying to build it all they are trying to do is stop it. What does that say for the western part of NSW?
"If it was a new tunnel in Sydney they would be saying what a great idea it is and it should have been bigger or longer, but as soon as it comes to regional areas the only thing you ever hear from them is that it is a bad idea."
The Nationals leader acknowledged the project's original budget of $4.7 billion had blown out to $14.3b but it was important the government push on with the development.
Our journalists work hard to provide local, up-to-date news to the community. This is how you can continue to access our trusted content: