Rob at the ODS Workshop, Hughenden

Hughenden is reeling after local employer Aurizon leaves around 29 locals without work.

This move comes as a result of Mount Isa Mines not renewing contracts for the transport of major goods to and from the port of Townsville.

Member for Mount Isa Rob Katter who says the move will have more of an impact on Hughenden then Queensland Nickel had on Townsville, has made urgent contact with the Premiers office.

“The town of Hughenden is reeling, the Government needs to decide what they want to do with these utilities, as rail user chargers are pushing transporters off the rails and onto the road,” Mr Katter said.

“While Aurizon did flag job losses in the North earlier this year, this is unjust and devastating news for a town of this size,” Member for Mount Isa Rob Katter said.

“29 jobs in a town of 1150  people is the equivalent to the loss of around 50,000 jobs in Brisbane.

“The North West is already suffering from drought so these towns cannot afford to lose any more jobs, yet we are seeing a clear out, right before Christmas,” he said.

Mr Katter said the KAP have demanded that the government’s pricing on rail, water and power is reassessed to enable industry, not pilfer it.

“The Government cannot use these utilities to charge these businesses to the point of collapse,” Mr Katter said.

“We are sick of infrastructure like the rail line being milked for all its worth to fund more passanger rail and traffic tunnels in Brisbane.

“The rail user chargers (still government owned) have increased by around 70% in the past three years, meaning some mines are forced to consider putting ore on the roads which is intrinsically much less efficient, not to mention unsafe.

“Last thing we want to see is more trucks chewing up our highways and families picking up and leaving town,” he said.

The Northern MP said there are a number of other projects in need of minimal financial support, but still need a strong push from government that would be good for the town.

“We are calling on the Government to make moves on the irrigation project and Hughenden abattoir, which are both ready to go,” Mr Katter said.

“We aren’t asking for $200 million cash like the Townsville stadium, we are asking for the govnerment to come out and help us help ourselves.

“At the end of the day, a Government that says it’s serious about jobs needs to pay attention to this issue right now and provide us with a response,” he said.



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