Rail deal questioned

SCEPTICAL: Brendan and Shontae Moran’s (with son Brody) Double D Station, west of Moranbah, will be quartered under one rail proposal.
SCEPTICAL: Brendan and Shontae Moran’s (with son Brody) Double D Station, west of Moranbah, will be quartered under one rail proposal.

GVK HANCOCK and Aurizon have announced they will work together to develop rail and port infrastructure in the Galilee Basin, in a move the Government said may increase the chance of consolidating the rail corridors. However local landholders aren't convinced.

Deputy Premier and State Development, Infrastructure and Planning minister Jeff Seeney said the Government had encouraged the companies to work together.

"It is a commercial arrangement that requires further negotiations but those negotiations have the potential to progress our strategy of seeing consolidated, multi-use rail corridors that have the least impact on local communities and landholders," he said. "By coming together, the companies could deliver the optimum rail solution for all parties."

However C2C member Shontae Moran, whose property west of Moranbah will be cut in four, is still sceptical.

"It really doesn't make much of a difference," she said. "Yes they could possibly be working together as long as they come to some form of agreement... in the end they could agree to disagree.

"Ultimately, the rail corridor will still be across the flood plain and after the recent flood event it would be worth considering their construction plan for a long-term project that will benefit everyone... building across the floodplain it can be very unreliable."

She said she had been informed that Aurizon, formally QR National, were still moving ahead with an EIS of their east-west proposal, while a possible corridor away from the floodplain had been sidelined.

"There is an option that follows along the western side of the Belyando still on the table and at this stage it's not being investigated," Mrs Moran said.

"It needs to be considered. It may not be the cheapest to build but it could definitely end up being the cheapest to run if it's reliable.

"It would also provide easier access to the smaller mines north of the GVK tenement to be able to get on to it, so then they're going to open up sooner rather than later instead of waiting until they have funding to build their own rail line."

Mr Seeney said both GVK Hancock's north-south rail project and Aurizon's east-west proposal had been declared co-ordinated projects by the Queensland co-ordinator-general.

The corporations are now discussing working together to develop a rail line from the Galilee Basin to Abbot Point and the T3 coal terminal.

Topics:  jeff seeney

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