Member for Mount Isa, Robbie Katter, is calling on the Government to drop the political spin and give some straight answers on the pricing and safety issues on the Mount Isa – Townsville rail line.
Robbie used a Question Without Notice in Parliament to give the Deputy Premier and Minister for Transport a chance to provide some hope for responsible management.
Robbie asked Minister Trad: “Given that a number of mining users on the Mount Isa-Townsville rail line have started to shift freight from rail to road, will the Deputy Premier acknowledge that competitive rail freight costs are a key industry enabler in the north-west minerals province? In doing so, will the Government commit to reducing the prices it charges customers on this line to support industry and jobs in the region?”
Robbie’s question was met with political spin, with the Deputy Premier failing to answer the question.
“This is a really serious problem for regional Queensland. The prices have driven freight off the rail lines and onto the road and its making the key industries in the North West less competitive. If there were road trains driving up George Street, you can bet there’d be action from the Government immediately.”
Robbie said the rail line is extremely important in ensuring the North West Mineral’s Province remains competitive.
“It’s a critical asset that should be used to support our industries and drive job creation. Instead it’s becoming a barrier to new development in the region and the Government won’t do anything about it.”
“The Government has an obligation to step in and address this issue.”
“With the recent announcements from MMG Dugald River Project, you have to ask the question: Are they also going to take their ore on the road? If the Government doesn’t address the inherent problems with the way they manage the line, they are going to see all new business choosing to go road over rail.”
“It should be cheaper by a factor of almost three to use rail as a bulk mode of transport. Could anything reflect more poorly on the management of this great industry-building asset than the fact that we are increasingly seeing mining companies putting bulk ore on the road?”

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