Rail plan to open up mining
THE Federal Government was considering a plan to fund a rail line to open up central Queensland to further mining development but abandoned it after Malcolm Turnbull was rolled as prime minister.
Negotiations for the Australian Rail Track Corporation to build Queensland’s first standard gauge rail line would have seen the Government take over Adani’s rail proposal to ensure it could be expanded and accessed by future mines.
The former PM held highlevel talks with a select number of ministers including Finance Minister Mathias Cormann, deputy PM Michael McCormack and then assistant to the deputy PM Keith Pitt.
Mr Turnbull had not agreed to the push, which came from Nationals and the Queensland LNP, but had not rejected it.
Executives in Adani, GVK and Waratah Coal were aware of the negotiations.
Mr McCormack privately told some LNP MPs the scheme would go ahead after it was raised in resolutions to the party’s state convention and Nationals federal conference last year.
The talks were not resumed after Scott Morrison became PM and Adani later went ahead with a plan to fund its own narrow gauge rail line that has a more limited capacity.
Mr Morrison’s office said it was unaware of the earlier negotiations. But Mr Pitt, said the plan should still be considered.
An Adani spokeswoman said it was committed to “building a 200km narrow gauge rail line that will connect the mine site to the existing rail network”.
Opposition Leader Bill Shorten yesterday expressed doubt about whether the Adani mine would go ahead.