Monto rail line to cost $350K

Govt re­jects lease op­tion for project

Central and North Burnett Times - - NEWS - Emily Smith

A $350,000 price tag has been slapped on the Mulgildie to Many Peaks in­fra­struc­ture of the Monto rail cor­ri­dor.

It came as a sur­prise to a Monto rail group, which was dis­ap­pointed in gov­ern­ment de­part­ments’ lack of sup­port in its vi­sion to turn the line into a light-rail tourist park.

“The best in­ter­est for them com­mer­cially is not the best in­ter­est for our com­mu­nity,” Bur­nett Boyne Rail Line Preser­va­tion Group pres­i­dent Jack Muller said.

“We didn’t ex­pect to have to buy the line, we thought they would give it to us or we could work out a lease.”

Trans­port and Main Roads se­nior ad­viser Noel Thomp­son said the re­quire­ment to buy the line in­stead of a lease it was be­cause it would be in the best com­mer­cial in­ter­est for Queens­land Rail.

He cited the economic cli­mate as be­ing un­favourable to a lease sit­u­a­tion.

While $7.5 mil­lion was redi­rected from rail main­te­nance to road up­grades af­ter the rail line was de­com­mis­sioned in the South Bur­nett un­der the La­bor gov­ern­ment, the North Bur­nett reaped no economic stim­u­lus af­ter its line was de­com­mis­sioned last year.

And the $350,000 price tag for the in­fra­struc­ture would go solely to­wards Queens­land Rail’s rev­enue, Mr Thomp­son said.

North Bur­nett Re­gional Coun­cil Mayor Don Waugh said when the rail was de­com­mis­sioned the coun­cil pur­sued the State Gov­ern­ment for sim­i­lar fund­ing to the South Bur­nett but they never made much head­way.

“I do think it’s un­fair and I would have much plea­sure in con­tin­u­ing to pur­sue this mat­ter with the State Gov­ern­ment,” he said.

The Monto rail group said it was still keen to per­se­vere with the light-rail project.

It has un­til Fe­bru­ary next year to put to­gether a full en­gi­neer’s re­port, an in­sur­ance quote and a de­tailed busi­ness plan.

“The big fo­cus for us right now will be do­ing a good job on this busi­ness plan and af­ter that we will work out how we can get our hands on the line,” Mr Muller said.

The Bur­nett Boyne Rail Line Preser­va­tion Group’s monthly meet­ing is tonight, 7.30pm at Monto RSL.

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