Labor govt announce rail upgrades and freight discounts

LABOR's campaign to win over the regions in the wake of the Federal Election continues with rail upgrades and freight discounts announced to entice miners to the North West Minerals province.

Treasurer Jackie Trad and Transport Minister Mark Bailey flew to Townsville today to unveil a plan to build a new multi-user container terminal to link the Mount Isa rail link direct to Port.

Freight charges to use the line will also be slashed to entice companies to use it.

Ms Trad said the move would "promote mining and exploration in the state's north west" and take trucks off the highway.

The State will chip in $30 million for the terminal with the Port of Townsville to contribute the remaining $18 million.

About $80 million over four years will be spent reducing rail access charges on the Mount Isa line while $380 million over five years is already being spent maintaining and improving the line.

"This investment underlines our commitment to backing regional communities and regional jobs," Ms Trad said.

"A number of mines are trucking minerals from the north west to the port and the trains that are carrying minerals in shipping containers have to be unloaded at Stuart and then trucked 12km to the port.

"Building a new common user freight terminal at the port will make the Mount Isa line more attractive for attractive for exporters and take trucks off the Flinders Highway and Townsville roads.

"Our state's economy is stronger when we have a reliable supply of minerals for export."

Mr Bailey said the decision to spend $20 a year reducing access fees for the railway line came following calls from industry.

He said the fee reductions would kick in from July 1.

The Government lists the North West Minerals Province " one of the world's richest mineral-producing regions".

Ms Trad said it contained about 75 per cent of the state's base minerals and metals like copper, lead, phosphate, silver and gold.



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