Bowen horticultural district safe from rail development

Published Wednesday, 02 April, 2014 at 03:05 PM

Deputy Premier, Minister for State Development, Infrastructure and Planning
The Honourable Jeff Seeney

Valuable horticultural land near Bowen will be removed from a proposed Galilee Basin State Development Area, a move designed to give local farmers confidence.

Deputy Premier and Minister for State Development, Infrastructure and Planning Jeff Seeney said the State Government had responded to feedback provided by the Bowen community and adapted the boundaries of the proposed State Development Area.

“I’m pleased to announce that more than 5,000 hectares of agricultural land to the north west of Bowen will be removed from the proposed mapping, following months of consultation,” Mr Seeney said.

“This should bring certainty to Bowen’s tomato farming community that the State Government values their operations and has ruled out the possibility that rail lines would be built across intensive farming land.

“This decision also delivers on our election promise to grow agriculture and resources.”

Mr Seeney said the proposed State Development Area had been identified to support the development of major Galilee Basin mining projects which have the potential to provide 28,000 jobs for Queenslanders.

“We need to forward plan for the placement of the rail lines that will be required to carry this coal to port, but we need to do that in a way that respects landholders and existing industries,” he said.

“To that end, we have already excised the urban areas of Merinda and Collinsville from the proposed State Development and today we are doing the same for the region’s horticulture industry.”

Mr Seeney said the Coordinator-General now believes the proposed rail precincts centred around the existing Aurizon rail corridor near Merinda can be refined, and farming areas near Euri Creek can be removed from the proposed State Development Area.

“The Coordinator General is working with Aurizon, to clarify that future upgrades to the existing rail line in the intensive farming area near Merinda can be generally contained within the current Aurizon rail corridor,” he said.

“Additionally he has identified that significant horticultural operations near Euri Creek will be removed from the proposed SDA.”

Mr Seeney said that while formal submissions from interested parties regarding the Galilee Basin State Development area had closed on March 28, the Government would continue to consult with communities potentially affected by the proposed SDA.

“The Office of the Coordinator-General will continue to engage with landholders and residents seeking information on this issue,” he said.

“We will continue to listen and take whatever time is necessary to minimise the impacts of this proposed State Development Area”.

“I have asked the Office of the Co-ordinator General and my Department to communicate today’s changes to landholders as soon as possible.”

Landholders and local residents seeking further information on the proposed Galilee Basin State Development Area are encouraged to call 1800 001 048.

[ENDS] 2 April 2014

Media Contact: Jane Paterson 0417 281 754 or Elizabeth Spry 0418 928 744