Train transport package a win for rural Queensland

Published Thursday, 16 May, 2013 at 01:30 PM


Minister for Transport and Main Roads
The Honourable Scott Emerson

Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry
The Honourable John McVeigh

The Newman Government will deliver a major win for Queensland farmers with a significant investment in rail infrastructure on the Darling Downs.

Transport and Main Roads Minister Scott Emerson and Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry Minister John McVeigh said up to $50 million in savings would be reinvested in additional passing loops across the Toowoomba Range.

“This will transform the way crops are transported from the Darling Downs,” Mr Emerson said.

“It is a fabulous win for our grain and cotton producers as it will provide the most significant increase in train paths in decades and meet the future needs of farmers right across south-west Queensland.”

Mr McVeigh said the infrastructure would be delivered from savings negotiated from existing freight contracts over the next two years.

“Up to 20 additional train paths per week will be made available for farmers to get crops off road and on to rail and double the current capacity,” Mr McVeigh said.

“Toowoomba is already a freight gateway for western Queensland and this will allow us to get the balance right between road and rail.”

Mr Emerson said the infrastructure investment was the second major step in the Newman Government’s agricultural freight strategy to improve rail access for rural Queensland, following confirmation the trial of additional cattle services between Winton and Brisbane, and Cloncurry and Brisbane would be made permanent. 

“This year we’ll be contracting 325 regional cattle train services – an increase of 48 services, or 17 per cent,” he said.

“We’ve listened to regional Queenslanders who tell us these services are crucial for the cattle industry which is currently in need of support from right across Queensland.”

Winton will now have three cattle services and Cloncurry two per week – up to 968 extra head of cattle being transported on rail or the equivalent of removing about 15 B-double heavy vehicles from our highways.

The strategy to deliver better rail freight is part of the Newman Government’s agricultural and freight strategy, as part of the Queensland’s four pillar economy.

[ENDS] 16 May 2013

Media contact: Andrew Berkman 0429 128 637