Letters to the editor | Daroobalgie rail crossing, Phil Donato absent at events, CUC opening

Project director clarifies Daroobalgie rail crossing debate | Letters

Daroobalgie rail crossing

Dear Editor

I write in response to the article 'Forbes calls for crossing upgrade'(Parkes Champion Post, December 4, 2020).

First of all, I'd like to thank the community and the Forbes Council for their engagement and interest in Inland Rail - we are excited to be delivering this project in your region.

For the benefit of your readers, I wish to clarify that the Forbes Northern Heavy Vehicle Bypass has been considered within the scope of work for the Stockinbingal to Parkes section of Inland Rail.

The road was previously upgraded by Forbes Council to accommodate larger trucks and road trains, but the level crossing infrastructure was not improved.

As part of building the Daroobalgie loop, the Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC) will be upgrading the level crossing, with a risk assessment set to determine what controls will be applied at the level crossing.

I would like to take the opportunity to clarify what was reported in the Parkes Champion Post related to my update to Forbes Council on 19 November.

My statement to the council meeting was that "Daroobalgie is a package of work that has to go through an environmental approval process, and that does include the activation of this crossing. The time restraints of getting the design and that approval in place mean it will be the first one off the mark, but it will be at the back end of next year before we are able to procure the whole package".

In April this year we communicated to stakeholders that a design and construct tender package for the Daroobalgie loop had been put on hold.

Since then, we have undertaken a review of the entire Stockinbingal to Parkes delivery strategy and identified opportunities to improve design and budget outcomes.

We have commenced detailed design, and we expect to go to market in mid-2021 through a competitive tender process for a package of works that includes the Daroobalgie loop.

We remain committed to working closely with members of the community and stakeholders to understand the concerns that exist, and work through any issues that may arise.

The team is always happy to provide information and updates to members of the community about the Stockinbingal to Parkes project - we can be reached by phoning 1800 732 761 or by email at inlandrailnsw@artc.com.au

Melvyn Maylin, Project Director, Inland Rail Albury to Parkes ARTC

Phil Donato not invited to events

Dear Editor

Over the past few months, a very disturbing practice is emerging in the Parkes Shire.

At major events - for example the starting of the Parkes/Narromine rail line (2018) and the ending of the said line - nowhere, in photos published by the Champion Post, nowhere is the elected Member for Parkes Phil Donato.

Instead we have the unelected Sam Farraway from Bathurst as the guest of honour.

I contacted the Orange office of Mr Donato and the office manager started laughing when I asked why? Because he was never invited.

Mayor Ken Keith, stop your campaigning for the Nationals (for whom you stood for pre-selection for the state seat of Orange and lost) and invite our elected Member to all official functions. Shire councillors, speak up.

tumba46@bigpond.com, Parkes

Reader sings Parkes Council's praises

Dear Editor

I would just like to congratulate the Mayor and Parkes Shire Council on the creation of the CUC (Country Universities Centre).

This is vital for country towns to stop the 'brain drain" from remote areas by youth who aren't interested in farming or mining and gives us the diversity we need, and helps prevents an ageing population with no heirs.

We are very fortunate to have an extremely competent mayor and council who have done wonders for the Parkes Shire, with street upgradings, the cultural centre and a new library by getting the best deals and accessing grants through the state and federal government.

It's very easy to sit at home or the pub and whinge about council shortcomings and do nothing about it.

This council is our council.

It's 100 per cent Parkes owned and operated.

Everyone has a shortcoming or two.

It's in our nature but I take my hat off to this council.

I have lived in far worse council areas.

In my place of birth, the council was sacked three times over 60-odd years due to corruption and bribery from developers.

A merry Christmas to the mayor and council and all the Parkes Champion Post readers.

Conrad Mill, Parkes

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