Monday 19th Nov, 2018

Deputy PM weighs in on Townsville Port rail plan

Photo: Ian Ackerman
Photo: Ian Ackerman

INFRASTRUCTURE minister and deputy prime minister Michael McCormack announced the Australian government would review the Queensland government’s business case for the Townsville Eastern Access Rail Corridor (TEARC), calling its conclusions “disappointing”.

The TEARC is a proposed 8.3-kilometre rail freight line which will connect the North Coast line at Cluden directly to the Port of Townsville.

The Queensland government recently released a business case saying current demand did not support development of the TEARC, but that it would preserve the corridor for future development.

Mr McCormack said the Australian government would “thoroughly review” the business case, including seeking independent advice from Infrastructure Australia.

“We want to leave no stone unturned in determining if the TEARC project can be viable,” he said.

“Our commitment is to invest more than $250 million in Townsville under the Townsville City Deal, and we stand by that commitment.”

Urban infrastructure and cities minister Paul Fletcher said it was essential that governments identify a pipeline of potential projects for investments – and do the legwork to ensure they stack up.

“The Turnbull Government received a copy of the full business case for the Port Channel Widening from the Queensland government yesterday evening,” he said.

“We will now consider closely what we have received, including the opportunity for long-term concessional financing from NAIF [the Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility].”

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