QR freight fees blamed for rail exodus

QR blamed for increasing the number of trucks on the road, with claims businesses have abandoned rail

Queensland Rail (QR) is being blamed for increasing the number of trucks on the road, with claims the operator’s freight fees are forcing businesses to abandon rail.

Opposition spokeswoman on transport Fiona Simpson has called for a review into QR’s freight costs and price structures, saying they must be overhauled to ensure rail does not lose its market share.

Simpson claims QR’s fees are forcing the mining, agricultural and livestock industries to reconsider their transport options, and points to issues in northern Queensland as proof the rail operator is failing to offer a competitive service.

The Marian sugar mill at Mackay will now transport 250,000 tonnes of raw sugar via road, while Kagara Zinc will move 100,000 tonnes of product by road after failing to reach an agreement with QR.

"When businesses are forced to transport goods via road because they have been priced off existing rail services then it's clear that something has gone wrong with the current leadership and pricing structure of our rail services," Simpson says.

She says Queensland’s road network is incapable of supporting the increase in road freight levels, claiming it is already overloaded and under-maintained.

"We can't keep seeing long-term rail users being priced-off existing rail infrastructure," Simpson says.

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