Townsville Enterprise welcomes the announcement today by the Deputy Premier and Treasurer the Hon. Jackie Trad and the Minister for Transport and Main Roads the Hon. Mark Bailey, to reduce the cost of access on the Mount Isa to Townsville Rail Line and invest in the construction of a new container terminal to be built at the Port of Townsville.
The Mount Isa to Townsville Rail Line is a nationally recognised Queensland asset that, for some time, has not been operating to its full potential. The fact that mining companies have been sending product by road, rather than by rail between Mount Isa and Townsville, reflects the inefficiencies experienced by the rail connection and failures in the existing regulatory and pricing models. This has been a significant issue that has been consistently raised by the private sector and was a key focus at our recent Mining and Resources Industry Forum last week.
Townsville Enterprise has been a strong and vocal advocate for investment into the Mount Isa to Townsville Rail Line and this was further highlighted in our 2019 Townsville North Queensland State Government Budget Submission. Today’s announcement is therefore an important step in tackling some of the major issues that have been inhibiting the growth of the North West Minerals Province. This announcement will ensure significant progress towards unlocking the potential of this multi-billion dollar industry.
Queensland’s North West Minerals Province contains about 75% of the State’s base metal and minerals, including copper, lead, zinc, silver, gold and phosphate deposit. The importance of the Mount Isa to Townsville Rail Line was brought to the forefront during the unprecedented floods earlier this year, when nearly 300km of track was either washed away or required repair. It was a testament to the hard work and efforts of Queensland Rail to reopen the line within 11 weeks and ahead of schedule. This operation alone has resulted in reduced transport times of approximately 50 minutes, which is welcome news for the industry.
This was always about jobs for the North and we acknowledge this positive commitment from the Government, and in particular Member for Townsville Scott Stewart, who has been an advocate for addressing the issues impeding the potential of the North West Minerals Province.
Townsville Enterprise looks forward to working with the Queensland Government on the details of this announcement.