STATE opposition finance spokesman, Clayton Barr, announced in Dubbo on Monday, Labor would hold an Upper House inquiry into Inland Rail if elected to government, at a meeting with affected landholders in the corridor between Narromine and Narrabri.
NSW Farmers' inland rail taskforce chair, Adrian Lyons, said NSW Labor's support for an Upper House inquiry was welcomed recognition of the association's long-standing calls for an inquiry into the $10 billion project.
"NSW Farmers strongly supports the inland rail project, but an inquiry is needed to ensure that the assumptions underpinning the selection of the route are sound," Mr Lyons said.
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"NSW Labor's commitment to an inquiry is recognition of the concerns within the communities of western NSW that more evidence must be provided to ensure we are getting the best value possible from this significant infrastructure investment."
However, NSW Primary Industries Minister Niall Blair said there needed to be better consultation on the route but an inquiry into the project would be a waste of money.
"When in doubt call for a review or call for an inquiry, just off the top of my head its 10 or 11 announced in the regional space in this election by Labor," Mr Blair said.
"I think there are definite issues around consultation and there needs to be better consultation on the route, but again you have to look at the opportunity it represents.
"Proper consultation and proper engagement with landholders settling on the route should be fundamental rather than people spending a lot of money on an inquiry."
Mr Lyons said shadow minister Barr was to be commended for going to Dubbo, listening to the concerns of locals, and responding with this commitment.
"An Upper House inquiry will gve the communities impacted by inland rail the opportunity to have their say and air their grievances," he said.
"We want this project to succeed - let's use this inquiry as an opportunity to maximise the value for agricultural supply chains across New South Wales and drive competition and investment in rail infrastructure for the benefit of rural and regional New South Wales."
Mr Lyons said he hoped the commonwealth government would engage in good faith with any inquiry and work with the NSW government in the implementation of any recommendations arising.
"NSW Farmers will continue to call for a formal inquiry at a commonwealth-level into the inland rail. The findings of any NSW parliamentary inquiry can feed into the review at a national level of the entire project, giving assurances to all that this important project has been developed properly."
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