Rail funding ‘ just a short- term fix’
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.