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Mount Isa Mayor Joyce McCulloch has hit out at councils and interest groups on the Queensland coast who are critical of the proposed railway between Mount Isa and Tennant Creek.
Cr McCulloch has dismissed their concerns as “zero sum thinking” and was determined to push for with the proposal.
“There is already a strategic options paper and the next step would be the feasibility options and there is a meeting on the 5th of December in Mount Isa with Tennant Creek to discuss that and there is a lot of government people flying in for that,” Cr McCulloch said.
“We don’t want to take business from Townsville but Townsville has to understand that we sustain them in a lot of ways.
“It’s important Mount Isa remains strong as well.”
The Mount Isa to Tennant Creek Railway Project aims to link the existing South Australia to Darwin railway with the inland Queensland railway from Mount Isa to Townsville.
The Northern Territory Government considers a rail link connecting the NT to north-western Queensland as critical for regional and national economic development and the creation of regional employment opportunities as the project would provide rail connectivity between the ports of Townsville and Darwin and leverage potential development of phosphate, agriculture, gas/liquids and other mineral exports along the rail corridor.
The federal government is looking at an options paper technical assessment for the project expected to be released early next year but Townsville Enterprise Limited and Charters Towers Mayor Liz Schmidt have already opposed the line, saying it would be detrimental to their towns.
Townsville has to understand that we sustain them in a lot of ways
However Cr McCulloch said the railway proposal was part of the bigger picture of developing the economic potential of Northern Australia.
MITEZ CEO Glen Graham said they would discuss the preliminary options report on this project at their next meeting.
“It is a situation of wait and see and if there is a case for the project to proceed,” Mr Graham said.
This article first appeared on www.northweststar.com.au
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