The Queensland Government has unveiled a $50 million investment for the Mount Isa rail line, bolstering freight movement between North Queensland’s largest port and the state’s minerals province.
On Wednesday, Transport and Main Roads Minister Mark Bailey announced in Parliament that three more projects on the rail line had been approved, in a bid to support the creation of jobs in the region and continue Queensland’s economic recovery.
As part of the investment, Queensland Rail will look at enabling double-stacked trains to run from Mount Isa to Stuart and potentially to the Port of Townsville, with a business case being finalised this year.
The business case will finalise the cost of the initiative and ensure there will be sufficient demand for double stacking.
“Supporting our industries and this crucial supply chain is part of our economic plan for recovery and jobs,” Mr Bailey said.
Member for Townsville Scott Stewart said the investment will also see major investment in improving flood resilience on the line and replacement of ageing rail equipment like sleepers and ballast.
“As part of driving better flood resilience, Queensland Rail will start geotechnical and survey work this month, to pave the way for the installation of new bridges and the replacement of culverts with spans and new piers,” Mr Stewart said.
“Those works will significantly increase capacity on waterway openings and provide protection to embankments to better withstand flood events.”
Port of Townsville CEO Ranee Crosby said Townsville Port is Australia’s largest exporter of zinc, copper, lead and fertiliser, with significant growth opportunities from the North West Minerals Province, one of the world’s richest mineral-producing regions.
“These investments into the Mount Isa to Townsville Rail Line, such as enabling double-stacking of containers on rail, will offer customers greater flexibility in transporting freight to the Port, improving efficiency and helping drive down supply chain costs.”
Queensland Rail CEO Nick Easy added the Mount Isa line is a critical connector for communities in North West Queensland and one of the state’s key freight paths.
“These investments will help existing mining operators export their resources and encourage new investment in the state’s north-west,” he said.