NSW, Qld, Private pitch for freight line
NSW, Qld, Private pitch for freight line
Matthew Franklin, Chief political correspondent |The Australian April 03, 2008
A PRIVATE consortium wants government approval to build a $900 million train line linking inland Queensland and NSW, promising it will take 1000 trucks a day off the roads and free Sydney's choked railways from significant freight traffic.
Australian Transport and Energy Corridor Ltd has asked the Queensland and NSW governments for an exclusive mandate to build a 350km rail line between Toowoomba, on the Darling Downs, and Moree, in NSW.
News of the plan comes only a week after federal Infrastructure Minister Anthony Albanese announced a final feasibility study for a standard-gauge Melbourne-to-Brisbane line that would almost certainly include the leg being proposed by ATEC.
The NSW and Queensland governments cautiously welcomed ATEC's proposal yesterday, but indicated they would be unlikely to make a decision until the federal scoping study was completed in August next year.
ATEC founder Everald Compton told The Australian the line would take 1000 trucks a day off the Newell Highway and allow freight to move from Melbourne to Queensland without having to pass through Sydney.
"It should have been built 100 years ago," Mr Compton said.
He said his company was working on a railway line through Queensland's Surat Basin after being given a mandate by the Queensland Government and was well advanced in negotiations with investors for the proposed Toowoomba-Moree line.
With quick approval, it could be finished as early as 2014, he said.
At present, freight trains going from Melbourne to Queensland had to pass through Sydney, choking that city's rail system and delaying movements, with freight trains required to wait for commuter traffic to pass before travelling at night, Mr Compton said.
An inland link between NSW and Queensland, branching to Newcastle, would allow trains not bound for Sydney to bypass the city and move freight to ports at Newcastle, Brisbane or Gladstone.
The line would create a development boom in inland centres along its path, with exporters able to set up along the track to take advantage of quick and inexpensive port access.
Mr Compton said the unsolicited project could become a model for public-private partnerships on infrastructure provision.
"If you wait for governments to decide if they will do this or that and then call private-sector tenders, you'll wait until hell freezes over," he said.
"We are going to the government and saying no one else is proposing this, and we reckon it's a goer
Believe it, or not, rail link is a goer

21 Jul, 2010 09:45 AM
A $1 BILLION rail project, linking Moree to Toowoomba in Queensland, has been described as a nationally significant piece of infrastructure by the Minister for Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government Anthony Albanese.
“In recognition of its potential as a nationally significant piece of infrastructure, I’ve granted Major Project Facilitation (MPF) status to the Border Railway Project being advanced by the Australian Transport and Energy Corridor Ltd (ATEC).

If it goes ahead, the rail link from Moree to Charleton, near Toowoomba would be a massive boost to Goondiwindi and the region,” said Goondiwindi Regional Council Mayor, Cr. Graeme Scheu.

“We’ve only just got the news, but it’s definitely getting closer.

“There’s no doubt the minister, Anthony Albanese, is doing everything he can to get it up and running.”

Cr. Scheu will be attending a meeting of the Downs and Surat Basin Alliance of Councils (DASBAC) in a fortnight, where it is likely the matter will be raised.

DASBAC is an informal alliance made up of Goondiwindi, Roma, Western Downs, Southern Downs, Roma and Toowoomba councils.

“Toowoomba’s priority is the range crossing, but I think the rail link could be a great thing for regional communities,” Cr Scheu said. The proposed $1 billion project would lay some 340 kilometres of standard gauge rail track, linking Moree to a newly constructed intermodal facility in Charlton, near Toowoomba, and servicing the coal projects in the region.

In the longer term, the proponents of this project envisage extending the line beyond Toowoomba all the way to the rapidly growing industrial city of Gladstone via the Surat Basin.

If given the final go ahead, this project would deliver significant benefits to regional communities across northern New South Wales and inland Queensland as well as to the broader national economy, including:

r More efficient transport connections.

r Improved access for local coal miners and agricultural producers to domestic and overseas markets.

r Less congestion on the existing coastal rail line.
r Additional major freight terminals in regional Australia.
The ATEC is expecting to begin construction on their Border Railway Project in late 2012, with a completion date of late 2014. However, MPF status does not imply any Government guarantee for the commercial success of the project, nor does it absolve the project from meeting less than the full statutory and other requisite criteria of relevant approval processes.

BACKGROUND< p> The Major Project Facilitation program is administered by the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government.
Further details on the program are available from the Major Project Facilitation Unit within the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government: GPO Box 594, CANBERRA, 2601 or telephone +61 2 6274 6684.
MPF Website: http://www.majorprojectfacilitation.gov. au.

:beer2 Confusedmitten

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