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The Palaszczuk Government has ensured rail freight will stay on track for regional Queensland, after recently renewing two key contracts.
Both the Regional Freight Transport Services Contract (RFTSC) and the Livestock Transport Services Contract (LTSC) have been negotiated with Aurizon to the end of December 2017.
Minister for Transport Stirling Hinchliffe said the renewed contracts would ensure more than 900 rail freight services continued to run each year for Queensland producers and farmers.
“The Palaszczuk Government is committed to supporting businesses in regional communities, and by continuing to invest in rail freight we can ensure ongoing economic benefits and employment opportunities right across the state,” Mr Hinchliffe said.
“These contracts will ensure cattle producers continue to have access to more than 300 cattle train services each year to transport livestock from regional hubs such as Cloncurry, Julia Creek, Winton, Clermont and Quilpie.
“That’s in addition to the 624 rail freight services which will continue to be provided annually to support the import and export trade in Queensland and general freight rail services in the Central West.”
Mr Hinchliffe said a number of improvements had been made to the contracts to make rail freight services even more attractive to producers.
“We are continuing to strive to ensure regional rail freight and livestock services are an attractive transport option for Queensland producers and farmers,” Mr Hinchliffe said.
“The renewed contracts include the introduction of performance targets and an increased focus on customer service.
“Additionally, the Palaszczuk Government has also agreed to purchase new cattle crates to provide more diverse transport options for customers and rail operators.
“The new cattle crates, intended to be loaded onto standard 40-foot, flat-bed wagon rolling stock, will initially be purchased for Aurizon but will later become available for any future rail operators.
“I encourage regional businesses, producers and farmers to contact Aurizon and make use of these services.”
The Queensland Government will continue to support road freight services in regional Queensland on a transition-out basis until 30 June, 2017.
The RFTSC and LTSC have been renewed with operator Aurizon to December 2017. The Department of Transport and Main Roads will undertake an open tender process for future rail services beyond 2017.
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