$250k inland rail study held up by federal bureaucracy
ACTION on the $250,000 study into extending the inland rail to Gladstone is held up by Federal bureaucracy, months after it was due to be completed.
The Federal Government funded study was announced in April last year when minister for resources and northern Australia Matt Canavan said an inland rail extension from Brisbane to Gladstone would turn our region into "the Chicago of Central Queensland".
But while deputy prime minister Barnaby Joyce and three other politicians announced the first delivery of 600 tonnes of steel for the Parkes- Narromine section of the $8.4 billion project, there is yet to be any announcement on the findings from the feasibility study.
The study is now in Mr Joyce's hands, after he was awarded the infrastructure and transport portfolios during a cabinet reshuffle last month.
Former infrastructure and transport minister Darren Chester was dumped from the Federal cabinet in the reshuffle.
Member for Flynn Ken O'Dowd said the deputy prime minister needed to look at the study in more detail before it was released.
"While there may be some short-term obstacles identified, it's the long-term advantages for the region that we need to focus on," he said.
If Gladstone was connected to Melbourne via inland rail, it would open up new exporting opportunities for our port including agriculture.
Gladstone Ports Corporation chief executive Peter O'Sullivan has publicly supported the potential inland rail extension several times.
"GPC thinks the extension of the rail line is a fantastic idea, benefiting our region and Central Queensland, and is ready and willing to handle the potential increase in containers and other products," Mr O'Sullivan said in September.
He said it would help the port achieve its goal of exports 290 million tonnes of product out of Gladstone's Harbour.
During the 2017 calendar year the Gladstone Port had exported 120.5 million tonnes of products. The tri-state Melbourne to Brisbane project was part of a $20 billion federal spend on rail infrastructure in the May 10 Budget last year.