Qld freight rail corridor urgent: LNP

Queensland is going the way of Western Australia as threat of wasteful rail line duplication looms in the mining sector

Qld freight rail corridor urgent: LNP
Qld freight rail corridor urgent: LNP

By Anna Game-Lopata | May 12, 2011

May 12, 2011

Labor is failing to properly plan freight rail lines for new mines according to Queensland’s Shadow Infrastructure Minister Jeff Seeney.

"The Bligh government must get involved now and coordinate a single rail corridor for three proposed Central Queensland mega-coal mines to minimise the impact on landholders and local communities," Seeney warns.

With Gina Rinehart's Hancock project, Clive Palmer's Waratah and Adani's project failing to co-operate on plans to ship coal from the Galilee Basin in central Queensland to the Port of Bowen in the north,
the plan is to build three separate railway lines.

This is also the situation in Western Australia's Pilbara iron ore region, where BHP's Newman line, Rio Tinto's Hamersley and Fortescue Metals' private rail line are constructed in parallel. Now Hancock's Roy Hill Project line to Port Hedland looks to be a further addition to the group.

The Queensland
Liberal National Party (LNP) opposition
says this is crazy. Seeney accuses the Bligh government of failing to learn lessons from its coal seam gas planning issues.

"The planning and coordination of gas projects in the Surat Basin has been appalling, and it looks like history is repeating itself," he says.

"Labor has been three years behind the game and constantly playing catch-up."

"Governments must get involved in planning and coordinating big mining projects from the outset, not wait until the damage is done and community anger has built up."

According to Seeney, mining companies are focussed on what is best for their own individual projects.

"It’s up to the state government to focus on what’s best for local communities and landholders."

Seeney was responding to State Development Minister Andrew Fraser’s answer to a question on notice in parliament on Wednesday.

"The Minister is basically shrugging his shoulders and saying the Bligh Labor Government is going to leave it to the companies to sort out," Seeney says.

"That’s just not good enough. Why hasn’t the government been working with the big mining companies to combine the three planned rail corridors into one?

"A properly planned common use corridor makes sense. It reduces the impact on Central Queenslander landholders, and frees up productive agricultural land."

Seeney claims the influence of the state’s Coordinator General has diminished under Anna Bligh with Queenslanders "paying the price" for Labor’s failure to properly deliver and coordinate infrastructure when it’s needed.

"An LNP Government will be doing everything possible to ensure that the resource projects in the Galilee Basin use a common rail easement," Seeney says.

"We will restore the Coordinator General’s authority to properly coordinate major projects to deliver the best possible outcomes for all Queenslanders."

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