ROBBIE Katter has hailed the announcement of long overdue upgrades to the Mount Isa to Townsville Rail Line as a win for the Crossbenchers.
The State Member for Mount Isa has long been pushing for investment on the rail line and said the $25 million investment would be a significant boost for North Queensland.
“We’ve been lobbying non-stop for a long time for the State Government to make the necessary investment to bring this critical piece of infrastructure up to standard,” he said.
“This announcement shows the power of a minor party and our ability to deliver for regional Queensland.”
Efficiency on the vital transport route has been a major issue for Mr Katter since he became the State Member in 2012.
“The rail line has not been working to its full capacity for many years, with trains being forced to run at slower speeds,” he said.
“The condition of the line is a poor reflection on how important this piece of infrastructure is to Queensland – it was not living up to its potential.”
“We need a line that reflects what the North West delivers to the state as a generator of approximately $300m in royalties per annum and contributing $2.8 billion to the Queensland economy.”
“These upgrades will go a long way to improving productivity and safety on the rail line.”
Mr Katter said one of the keys to driving economic growth in the North West was ensuring transport corridors were working efficiently and will continue to push for solutions with the current state of the Crossbench.
“The North West Minerals Province has a bright and prosperous future with the government showing it is willing to support infrastructure to enable industry,” he said.
“There is still plenty more work to be done to stimulate industry, however, I congratulate the State Government for listening.”
“Investing $25 million to improve efficiencies on the rail line is a wonderful start and we need these types of infrastructure announcements to have the mining sector firing on all cylinders.”
Mr Katter said it was now time for the Federal Government to fulfil its promise to develop the North.
“We’ve waited too long for the Federal Government to stand up and deliver on its plan to develop Northern Australia,” he said.
“The time for action has come for the Federal Government to stop the rhetoric.”