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    Coat of ArmsMedia Release
    JOINT STATEMENT
    Premier and Minister for the Arts
    The Honourable Anna Bligh
    Minister for Infrastructure and Planning
    The Honourable Stirling Hinchliffe

    “SOUTHERN MISSING LINK” CLEARS STATE’S ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENT

    JOINT STATEMENT

    Premier and Minister for the Arts
    The Honourable Anna Bligh

    Minister for Infrastructure and Planning
    The Honourable Stirling Hinchliffe

    Saturday, December 11, 2010

    “SOUTHERN MISSING LINK” CLEARS STATE’S ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENT

    The State Government has given the green light to the proposed $1 billion Surat Basin Rail (SBR) project after three years of rigorous environmental assessment.

    Premier Anna Bligh has welcomed Coordinator-General Graeme Newton’s conditional approval of the environmental impact statement (EIS) for the proposed new rail line between Wandoan and Banana known as the Southern Missing Link.

    The move follows the state government’s recent approval of the proposed $3 billion Wandoan Coal project, which would produce coal to be transported on the railway line to port facilities at Gladstone.

    Up to 1,000 workers would be employed during construction of the railway, with a further 44 positions required to operate and maintain the infrastructure.

    “This project would open up the Surat Basin as the next major new export region for Queensland,” Ms Bligh said.

    “This proposed project comprises a 210-kilometre multi-user, open access rail line to allow for the transport of coal from the Surat Basin to the Port of Gladstone for export.

    “It will enable the development of significant coal resources—estimated at four billion tonnes—in the Surat Basin and generate up to an estimated $300 million in royalties per year.”

    The project will see coal from the Surat Basin transported along QR National’s Moura Line and the proposed Moura Link rail project, to the proposed Wiggins Island Coal Export Terminal at the Port of Gladstone.

    Coordinator-General Graeme Newton said the release of his report for the Surat Basin Rail project contains a comprehensive list of 115 conditions and recommendations for the construction and operation of the project.

    “These conditions set requirements and procedures with respect to a number of key environmental and social issues,” Mr Newton said.

    “These include:

    • A range of measures to protect and minimise fragmentation of properties, vegetation and habitat
    • A comprehensive weed and pest management plan to control the spread of weeds and pests
    • Limits on the amount of groundwater used in the construction of the project to maintain water quality and quantity
    • The preparation and implementation of a coal dust management plan to control the loss of coal dust
    • Development of a temporary accommodation facility guideline to minimise the impact on the local housing market
    • A local industry participation plan to ensure the local community gains the maximum economic benefit from the project
    • Plans and protocols to manage social impacts of the project.

    “This is yet another example of the Government delivering for, and listening to regional Queensland.”

    The proponent, a consortium comprising of ATEC Dawson Valley Railway Pty Ltd, Xstrata Coal Surat Basin Rail Pty Ltd and QR Surat Basin Pty Ltd, anticipates construction of the railway and its associated facilities could commence in 2011.

    The first coal exports are forecast to begin as early as 2014.

    The Coordinator-General’s Report is available from the Department of Infrastructure and Planning’s website at: http://www.dip.qld.gov.au/projects/transport/rail/surat-basin-rail.html

    Media contact: 3224 8750