I was railroaded

By Kate Wilson

FOR 126 years the Jealous family has enjoyed peace and tranquillity on their MacGills Road farm, but that will soon be shattered by the constant rattle of passing cane bins.

Louise Jealous-Bennett is one of three property owners who have been told a proposed cane railway will cut through their properties - and there is almost nothing they can do about it.

"What they can do is whatever they like," an angry Ms Jealous-Bennett said yesterday.

"Railroaded is a good word for what has happened - so is bullied and wrong."

Under the Sugar Act, Bundaberg Sugar can place railway tracks almost anywhere it likes.

And while Sugar Commissioner Rowena McNally has the final say, Ms Jealous-Bennett does not like her chances.

"On Monday we consulted with their lawyers for the first time, thinking there would be a submission and details," Ms Jealous-Bennett said.

"But we were told Bundaberg Sugar was not making a submission because they don't have to," Ms Jealous-Bennett said.

She said the whole community would miss out on enjoying the pristine riverbank if the cane track was installed.

"All around Australia, rivers are used as beautiful recreation reserves, but here we are putting tracks in because Bundaberg Sugar has drawn a line on the paper," she said.

The Sugar Commissioner will visit the Jealous farm and hold a hearing on Friday.

But Ms Jealous-Bennnett believes Member for Burnett Rob Messenger has the best chance of bringing about change. "I'm writing to the minister and looking for a change in legislation," Mr Messenger said.

"Under the legislation, the property owners have lost all their rights."

Bundaberg Sugar group development manager Gary Longden said a direct route was needed between the sugar cane river ferry and the Millaquin Mill.

"This will result in a lot less traffic, which is why the state government is very supportive of the project," Mr Longden said.

"Negotiations with the last few property owners are being sorted out by the solicitors."

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