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Maverick independent Bob Katter has asked Scott Morrison to chair an urgent meeting between stakeholders in the Galilee Basin, as he attempts to gain support for a government-owned rail line to open up the precinct for coalmining.
The north Queensland MP — who the Prime Minister has been keen to keep onside, given the government’s weak numbers on the floor of the parliament — called Mr Morrison last week and asked him to make the trip to central Queensland.
Mr Katter said he wanted to ensure that the rail line would allow for the exploration of the entire basin, rather than favour the Adani project.
Under a scaled-down proposal, Adani wants to build a rail line from its Carmichael mine that would link to existing coal export infrastructure controlled by rail freight company Aurizon.
“I want them to put a railway line right to the centre of the Galilee (Basin) under the auspice of the federal government,” Mr Katter told The Australian.
“One of the major people involved in Galilee has said he can pull the major stakeholders together, including Adani. There is nearly a dozen Australian companies, particularly in the northern end — well, they are as far away as the moon as the Adani railway line.”
Mr Katter said a government-owned line would open up the entire precinct for development, including from the China Stone mine, which he claimed would be “much bigger than Adani”.
This article first appeared on www.theaustralian.com.au
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