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THEY'RE two of Australia's biggest billionaires, both accustomed to getting what they want.
What the resource tycoons want is their own personal railway lines to coal mines they plan in Queensland's Galilee Basin.
However, the Newman Government is placed in the unenviable position between the billionaires and has warned them it wants only one railway.
With a collective fortune of more than $15 billion and no love lost between the two, industry insiders say convincing the pair to share may be one of the Newman Government's greatest challenges.
The Galilee issue is even more complex given Indian billionaire Gautam Adani also wants his own railway to his mine project, while QR National has proposed a shared track no one wants to use.
Deputy Premier Jeff Seeney yesterday told The Courier-Mail that he had written to both Mr Palmer and Ms Rinehart this week warning them that a single rail line was the Government's preferred option.
Mr Seeney offered to use the coordinator- general's powers, which include the authority to compulsorily acquire land.
Mr Palmer and Ms Rinehart can legally continue to pursue their own tracks, but they would be left at the mercy of the landholders who traverse the 500km route from their mines to the Abbot Point coal terminal. Mr Seeney said he had inherited a "complete debacle" but the Government was set on a single track because it was in the best interests of farmers and the environment.
"If all of those solutions were built we would end up with some sort of spaghetti mess of railways across this section of north Queensland," he said.
Mr Seeney said a single track would offer savings to each of the proponents while each would face difficulties going it alone without the state's compulsory acquisition powers.
Mr Seeney admitted the task of getting the billionaires to agree wouldn't be easy.
This article first appeared on www.perthnow.com.au
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