Turn­bull’s high-level talks on rail line

The Observer - - NEWS -

EX­CLU­SIVE: The Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment was ac­tively con­sid­er­ing a plan to fund a large rail line to open up cen­tral Queens­land to fur­ther min­ing de­vel­op­ment, but the scheme was aban­doned 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 Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment take over Adani’s orig­i­nal rail pro­posal to en­sure it could be ex­panded and ac­cessed by fu­ture mines.

Mr Turn­bull held high-level 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.

The for­mer PM had not agreed to the push, which came from Na­tion­als and the Queens­land Lib­eral Na­tional Party, but had not re­jected it ei­ther, the Courier Mail has con­firmed.

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.

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