Well isn’t the supply chain from Townsville to Mount Isa a conundrum! Firstly, the Port’s channel widening project, valued at $193M, has a $75M grant from the State Government and $43M from the Port but the request for $75M from the Federal Government is still being considered.
The next part of this supply chain is the Townsville Eastern Access Rail Corridor (TEARC) which received a $150M grant from the Federal Government in 2016, subject to the business case. The State Government delivered the outcomes of the business case last week which noted that further funding to complete the project was not required at this point in time as it didn’t stack up.
And then you have the actual rail line from Mount Isa, with users saying they are trucking more product by road than putting it on rail because the line is too expensive and inefficient.
So where to next and how do we help break this catch 22 to get things moving?
There is obviously a commitment and a will from both the State and Federal Governments to make this supply chain efficient and cost effective. It makes sense when it is the key artery into one of the world’s richest mineral provinces and one that is about to ride the wave of recovering commodity prices.
Instead of considering these three projects in isolation, we want to work with our local community and both Governments to chart a more cooperative path to coordinate their respective funding commitments. Whilst we acknowledge both commitments, now is the time for a collaborative review of this critical supply chain to protect, support and grow the jobs for the people of North and North West Queensland.