THE Queensland Government has promised half a billion dollars for the development of a new freight terminal at the Port of Townsville and discounted freight charges to boost exports along the Mount Isa rail line.
Deputy Premier and Treasurer Jackie Trad said the funding would promote mining and exploration in the state’s North West, which contains about 75pc of Queensland’s base metal and minerals, including copper, lead, zinc, silver, gold and phosphate deposits.
“Our state’s economy is stronger when we have a reliable supply of minerals for export,” Ms Trad said.
“A number of mines are trucking minerals from the North West to the port, and the trains that are carrying minerals in shipping containers have to be unloaded at Stuart and then trucked 12km to the port.
“Building a new common user rail freight terminal at the port will make the Mount Isa Line more attractive for exporters and take trucks off the Flinders Highway and Townsville’s roads.”
Qld Transport and Main Roads Minister Mark Bailey said the new terminal and the investment of $80m over four years to reduce rail access charges along the line would drive the shift from road to rail – creating greater certainty for companies that relied on the Mount Isa line.
“The Mount Isa Line is critical for North Queensland’s economy, and making it more efficient and cost competitive is vital to support and grow resources exports in the region,” Mr Bailey said.
“The Qld Government is investing $380 million over five years to maintain and improve the line, making the freight journey faster and more reliable.”
The Queensland Resources Council (QRC) has welcomed the commitment, with chief executive Ian Macfarlane saying reinvesting in the rail line would create more wealth, more exports and more jobs for Queenslanders.
“We are keen to work with the Government on the staging of the upgrade to securing the return on this investment for all Queenslanders as soon as possible,” Mr Macfarlane said.
“This rail line is a key transport corridor for Queensland’s metals industry which contributed $9.3b to the State’s economy last financial year, supported more than 50,000 full-time jobs and paid $1.3b in wages.”
The Qld Government will contribute $30m towards the freight terminal’s construction, with the Port of Townsville providing the remaining $18m.