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A CAMPAIGN to upgrade the Mount Isa to Townsville rail line is expected to gain momentum with MP Robbie Katter and Mayor Jenny Hill pushing for the infrastructure to be mended.
Townsville Enterprise yesterday released its commissioned AEC report that revealed 900 North Queensland jobs could be lost if the Mount Isa to Tennant Creek rail link progressed. If it went ahead, Townsville risked losing to Darwin all of its exports that travel from the North West Minerals Province.
Mr Katter said the biggest issue holding back development in the NWMP was a lack of access to affordable and reliable infrastructure, particularly energy and rail.
“The lack of access to affordable and reliable infrastructure has been driven by the policies of both major parties over a long period of time,” the Mount Isa MP said.
“Investment in the line needs to be made to ensure that it can operate efficiently but it’s just as important to ensure the regulated access and pricing arrangements act as an industry enabler.
“The rail line is an asset of national significance that is heavily under-utilised because of the way both the LNP and Labor have managed the pricing and access arrangements.”
The rail line’s poor condition meant trains need to travel at inefficient speeds, forcing resources to be transported via road. Mr Katter said every major mining company in the NWMP had indicated development was being held back because of the way the line was managed.
Cr Hill said she was waiting to attend a workshop with the Mount Isa-Townsville Economic Development Zone.
“That will be to determine what the agenda will be for all the councils and industries who work on that corridor,” she said.
It is understood the LNP’s State Infrastructure Plan will be released in coming weeks.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk did not provide a response yesterday.
This article first appeared on www.townsvillebulletin.com.au
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