The Coalition Government has today announced a $5million feasibility study into upgrading the freight railway line between Townsville and Mount Isa, and constructing of a new line between Mount Isa and Tennant Creek.
The Commonwealth will conduct the studies in partnership with the Queensland and Northern Territory Governments.
Northern Government Senator Ian Macdonald has welcomed the announcement as a concrete step forward in the implementation of the Northern Australia Development process.
“Improving the Townsville-Mount Isa rail corridor, and creating a rail link between the east coast, Darwin, and southern states, will bring economic growth to the entire region.
“It will also make it possible for local producers to more easily access markets here, and overseas.
“This will be good for business, good for jobs, good for Northern Australia and good for the national economy,” Senator Macdonald said.
The Australian Government has committed $5 million to undertake the feasibility studies as part of the Northern Australia White Paper, with the Northern Territory Government contributing $1 million to the Tennant Creek to Mount Isa pre-feasibility study.
“Rail transport is of critical importance to agricultural and resources industries in Queensland and across Northern Australia.
“These studies will investigate the most viable options for new and improved rail transport links that will be able to support Northern economic development into the coming century.
“Rail is also a key lifeline for the people and communities of Northern Australia and building better rail links will help build communities, and build economic participation,” the Senator said.
The Australian Government is providing up to $5 billion in concessional loans to the private sector, including mining operators, and state and territory governments, to build viable infrastructure projects including rail.