Rail Freight Corridor Secured, Channel Widening Immediate Priority for Townsville

02 May 2018

Queensland Government: The Palaszczuk Government will move to ensure the long-term future of rail freight to the Port of Townsville by protecting the Townsville Eastern Access Rail Corridor (TEARC).

Transport and Main Roads Minister Mark Bailey said it was important for the economic development of Townsville the TEARC route was protected for future construction and that everything possible was done to bring the project forward.

Building Queensland has recently completed a Detailed Business Case on the TEARC project which is being publically released today,” Mr Bailey said.

“It found while freight line was strategically important to the future development of the port, current demand did not support construction of the line at this time.

“We therefore call on the Turnbull Government to redirect funding from the TEARC to other key projects Townsville needs now, consistent with the Townsville City Deal.

“Such investment can help bring forward demand for TEARC and make it a reality sooner.

“In particular, we again call on the Turnbull Government to match our $75 million commitment to expanding the Port of Townsville.

Member for Townsville Scott Stewart said the Port of Townsville was one of four priority ports in North Queensland and was vital to the movement of the state’s imports and exports.

“The Channel Widening Project is a fundamental part of the economic future of Townsville and North Queensland as well as the Townsville City Deal,” he said.

"Put simply, it means jobs for North Queensland.

“It’s by expanding capacity at the Port that we’ll be able to increase efficiency, grow freight volumes and in turn support demand and future need for the TEARC."

Mr Bailey called on the Turnbull Government to prioritise allocating real funding to the Port.

“The Turnbull Government said it would fund the Port of Townsville’s expansion through the NAIF, but that’s an insult to the people of Townsville," he said.

"With just one project having received NAIF funding in the country so far over three years and Senator Canavan recently admitting it has been an abject failure, we call on the Turnbull Government to put the money it has aside for TEARC directly into the Port where the most value lies for jobs in Townsville.”

Mr Bailey said it was also important the preferred alignment was preserved to ensure the corridor was available when required and urged the Turnbull Government to contribute funding to support that happening.

“This will include acquiring land and gazetting the corridor, as well as preparing an Environmental Impact Assessment for the project,” he said.

“We also urge the Federal Government to join with us in committing funding to construction of intermodal rail facilities at the port of Townsville which would provide an immediate option for modal shift of product transported in half-height containers from road to rail.”

Mr Bailey said increased commodity demand, any major new trades, population growth in North Queensland, or changed land use could trigger the future need for TEARC.

“Until then it is important we protect the corridor for future construction," he said.

“That is a commitment government made at the last election and it is a commitment we are honouring.”

The proposed TEARC route will travel from Cluden on the North Coast Line, through the Townsville State Development Area for about 3.5 kilometres, before joining the existing Eastern Access Corridor and running northward parallel to the Southern Port Road to the port. It is a proposed 8.3 kilometre rail freight line which will connect the North Coast line at Cluden directly to the port.




Source:   Queensland Government - www.statements.qld.gov.au

Contact:  Media contact: Brock Taylor, 0427018178

External Links:  http://buildingqueensland.qld.gov.au/business-case/townsville-eastern-access-rail-corridor/

Recent news by:  Queensland Government