Rail fund­ing ‘ just a short- term fix’

Townsville Bulletin - - NEWS - DOMANII CAMERON

STATE La­bor’s fund­ing pledge for the Mount Isa to Townsville rail line is a Band- Aid fix, ac­cord­ing to Townsville En­ter­prise’s chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer.

If re- elected, Pre­mier An­nasta­cia Palaszczuk has pledged an­other $ 50 mil­lion to help re­pair and main­tain the trou­bled line, bring­ing the gov­ern­ment’s to­tal in­vest­ment to $ 380 mil­lion over the next five years.

Townsville is at risk of los­ing ex­ports from the North West Min­er­als Prov­ince, with plans for a new rail line be­tween Mount Isa and Ten­nant Creek well ad­vanced.

The Townsville line is so di­lap­i­dated that freight is hav­ing to be trans­ported via road.

TEL CEO Pa­tri­cia O’Cal­laghan yes­ter­day said the an­nounce­ment was not enough.

“Any in­vest­ment into the rail line is pos­i­tive, it is wel­comed,” she said. “How­ever it’s not enough in its own right. “What is re­quired is a com­plete re­view of the op­er­at­ing model and the pric­ing struc­ture which is nec­es­sary to en­sure that we have a na­tion­ally com­pet­i­tive and ef­fi­cient freight cor­ri­dor. The en­tire sup­ply chain needs to be re­viewed.”

TEL pol­icy and in­vest­ment di­rec­tor Michael McMil­lan said the short- term so­lu­tion to the rail line prob­lem was get­ting the fi­nan­cial model right.

“It’s ( cur­rently) pun­ish­ing those users of the rail line,” he said.

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