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THERE is light at the end of the tunnel for the long awaited Morven Freight Hub, a project that should have been finished a year ago.
A development application was recently passed by the Murweh Shire Council, with Mayor Annie Liston saying despite the challenges of bureaucracy, she would not give up until the crucial freight hub was up and running.
"We've learned more about project blocks and it felt like at every single turn there was another obstacle in our pathway, but we have been determined to keep going and now have a DA (development application) through and appointed a manager," Cr Liston said.
An official sod-turning ceremony for the project was held more than a year ago and Cr Liston said she was acutely aware of the frustrations caused by the delays in getting the project underway.
Morven's existing rail station will be transformed into a regional freight hub.
"We underestimated timelines and had unplanned disruptions, and for this we are sorry," Cr Liston said.
"The planning process, together with other issues, has been a headache and a couple of Panadol did not numb the pain of delay. But we have remained chomping at the bit for this project and I am unwavering in my belief that it will be completed."
When completed, Morven Freight Hub will boast modern cattle yards, storage facilities and associated infrastructure to support the operations. It will offer a safe place for cattle trucks to load and unload, have spelling yards, and will have an on-site truck turning facility.
Importantly, the facility will potentially provide processors including Oakey Beef Exports with an improved cattle supply chain.
"We want Morven Freight Hub built because it will rain, the drought will end, and the red meat industry will recover," she said. "Morven will be a jewel in the crown of the beef industry."
This project was the result of a collaboration of the region's shires through the peak economic group, South West RED.
Cr Liston acknowledged the ongoing work of Minister David Littleproud.
"David helped us navigate some of the more stickier issues to get the DA through and was able to reach out to the Deputy Prime Minister, Michael McCormack, and the Prime Minister's Office for help," she said.
She also acknowledged Queensland Transport Minister Mark Bailey, who topped up funding and helped work through the more complex planning issues.
"He also listened to the concerns in regional areas that freight delivery by Aurizon has not always been to an adequate standard.
Murweh Shire Council will also negotiate with Watco East West on a contractual arrangement for the hub.
This article first appeared on www.queenslandcountrylife.com.au
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