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    JOINT STATEMENT
    Premier and Minister for the Arts
    The Honourable Anna Bligh
    Treasurer and Minister for Employment and Economic Development
    The Honourable Andrew Fraser

    Premier commissions cornerstone of Queensland’s prosperity

    JOINT STATEMENT

    Premier and Minister for the Arts
    The Honourable Anna Bligh

    Treasurer and Minister for Employment and Economic Development
    The Honourable Andrew Fraser

    Thursday, August 27, 2009

    Premier commissions cornerstone of Queensland’s prosperity

    MACKAY: Premier Anna Bligh and Treasurer Andrew Fraser have commissioned Queensland’s largest coal railway expansion in Central Queensland on the third day of their statewide Building for Jobs Tour.

    The upgrade of the Jilalan Yard in Central Queensland, which includes major track work and improved maintenance and provisioning facilities, will help the coal industry increase exports by more than $3 billion a year support and create thousands of new jobs.

    As part of constructing the project, nearly 1,600 jobs have been created, including those directly involved in construction as well as equipment and material suppliers, hospitality workers and others in associated industries such as manufacturing.

    “This upgrade is a cornerstone of Queensland future prosperity and like so many of the projects that make up our record $18.2 billion capital building program it not only creates jobs in construction but it lays the foundations for thousands of jobs,” said Ms Bligh.

    “This $500 million upgrade will increase Jillian’s peak capacity by around a third - that means we will see an average of 40 trains each day carrying up to 130 million tonnes of coal per annum from approximately 30 trains carrying around100 million tonnes.”

    Ms Bligh said the government was investing more than $1.48 billion in the Mackay-Whitsunday region this year.

    “That’s around $8,611 for every man, woman and child who call this region home, compared to just $2,761 nationally,” she said.

    The Premier and the Treasurer inspected the rail yard following the completion of major track work - two months ahead of schedule.

    Ms Bligh said the $500 million upgrade, QR’s largest infrastructure investment to date, would bring major benefits to the Goonyella coal rail system, which services 21 mines in Central Queensland.

    “The benefit of this upgrade project to the state’s economy is enormous – not only will it allow generation of up to $3 billion of additional revenue annually for the Central Queensland coal industry, it will be on the back of new jobs at mines and in regional communities supporting this growth.”

    The expansion of the yard includes 40km of new rail (22km of which will be electrified), two new main bypass tracks, two provisioning tracks, new provisioning and maintenance facilities, and a new administration building.

    The Premier said the additional 30 per cent of haulage capacity would give the supply chain a major lift at a time of increasing optimism in the global coal market.

    “There’s long term confidence in the strength of the market and a widely held view that the state’s coal production will lift from current level of 185 million tonnes to 250 million tonnes or more within five years,” she said.

    “We know we must capitalise on market growth opportunities to ensure Queensland coal producers can move their products from mine to market as efficiently and safely as possible because the more coal we move the more jobs we create.”

    Mr Fraser said the Jilalan Yard near Sarina was a vital link in the Goonyella System between mines in the Bowen Basin and ports at Hay Point and Dalrymple Bay.

    “With the completion of this massive project more trains can operate in the Goonyella System to meet demand now and into the future,” Mr Fraser said.

    “At $500 million, this investment reflects QR’s confidence in the long term future of the resources sector and a commitment to its coal customers.”

    The Premier said other jobs-generating projects underway in the region include:

    • The new Mackay Base Hospital;
    • Forgan River Bridge
    • Improvements to the Peak Downs Highway
    • Mackay Technical College Trade Training Centre
    • Continued expansion of the Abbot Point Coal Terminal

    “In tough times, the building program is protecting 127,000 Queensland jobs,” said the Premier.

    “It’s the reason Queensland’s economy is still performing better than the national average. And it’s helping to build the infrastructure you and your family need now and in the future.”

    Notes to editor:

    About the Jilalan Yard upgrade

    QR’s Jilalan Yard, located 3km south of Sarina, provides maintenance and service to the trains that haul coal on the Goonyella coal supply chain. The supply chain stretches from Central Queensland’s Bowen Basin mines to the coal terminals at Hay Point and Dalrymple Bay.

    QR is undertaking a significant infrastructure program to improve the Goonyella Rail System, and as part of this QR will be making a significant investment in the upgrade of the existing Jilalan Rail Yard. These works will enhance the capacity of the coal rail network and allow the further growth of coal exports from the Bowen Basin.

    The Coal Stream Alliance Jilalan (CSAJ), comprising partners QR, McMahon Holdings Limited, MVM Rail, Connell Wagner, Aurecon Hatch (Rail) and Parsons Brinckerhoff, has been formed to undertake these works.

    For information on local building projects, and training and apprenticeship opportunities visit www.qld.gov.au/buildingqld

    Media contact: 07 32244500

    27 August 2009