Robbie Katter welcomes Queensland Rail’s new CEO, Mr Nick Easy, with a message that QR’s issues extend beyond 10 minute delays for commuters in Brisbane.
“Politicians and public officials in the South East need to pull their heads out of the sand and realise there are bigger issues than trains running 10 minutes late”
Mr Katter has called on Mr Easy to focus attention on the major issues with the Mount Isa to Townsville rail line.
“The prices QR is charging major users are so high that freight is being moved off the rail line on to the Flinders Highway. It defies logic that it would be cheaper to ship bulk freight by road rather than rail”
Mr Katter said there is a fundamental issue with the way the Government manages publically owned assets that have potential to drive economic development.
“The Government seems to prefer maximising the return they receive from these assets rather than taking advantage of the potential for the rail line to drive economic activity in the North West”.
“One user has seen increases of 70% in its charges over the past few years. That’s totally unacceptable”
The North West Minerals Province is one of the greatest mineral regions in the world however its potential is being held back by access to competitively priced transport and energy.
“The Government must do more to stimulate the development of the North West and there are huge opportunities to facilitate investment through better access to transport”
“If QR is willing to make access to the rail line more cost effective they would have more users on the line and we wouldn’t have more road trains pushed on to a highway that is desperately in need of upgrades”
Mr Katter has made a request to the Deputy Premier to sit down with her and Mr Easy so he can bring the new CEO up to speed on the issue.
“I’m looking forward to meeting with Mr Easy and highlighting just how big an issue this is for the North West. I’m sure he’ll be keen to address it once he understands the severity”.
“We don’t want to sit around until someone dies on a congested highway while a perfectly good rail-line sits underutilised right next door”