Aurizon livestock rail deal up for renewal


Queensland considers extension and expansion to its subsidised deal for livestock rail transport

Aurizon livestock rail deal up for renewal
Aurizon could be delivering more livestock by rail, if a subsidy agreement is extended

 

The Queensland government has reiterated its commitment to a deal that subsidises livestock freight moving by rail, and is looking to add a third destination into the equation.

The present contract between the government and Aurizon allows for up to 325 livestock rail services a year from stations in regional Queensland to one of two buyers.

Transport minister Jackie Trad says the next contract renegotiation – the present deal nominally expires at the end of this year – could include an extension to a third buyer, Oakey Beef Exports in the Darling Downs region.

One of Australia’s largest beef processing businesses, Oakey Beef says the negotiations have been complex but positive.

General manager Pat Gleeson says a deal will be "a positive win-win for producer and processor".

"Access to the freight line will ensure greater competitiveness," he adds.

But the deal is yet to be signed off on, and few are making any assumptions. The state government provides a subsidy but it is up to the freight owners and Aurizon to still come up with a deal that satisfies both parties.

A spokesperson for local member of state parliament Pat Weir says he is "very hopeful of a positive outcome".

"Transporting western cattle to the east by rail has positive benefits, so the partnership is obviously very welcome.

"But we are taking a wait-and-see approach at this stage."

A spokesperson for Aurizon said the matter was still one for the Queensland government – "and we have nothing more to add at this stage".

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