THE Queensland government announced it intends to secure long-term rail-freight access to the Port of Townsville by protecting the Townsville Eastern Access Rail Corridor (TEARC).
The TEARC is a proposed 8.3-kilometre rail freight line which will connect the North Coast line at Cluden directly to the Port.
State transport minister Mark Bailey said Building Queensland had recently completed a detailed business case on the TEARC project.
“[The business case] found while freight line was strategically important to the future development of the Port, current demand did not support construction of the line at this time,” he said.
“We therefore call on the Turnbull Government to redirect funding from the TEARC to other key projects Townsville needs now.
“In particular, we again call on the Turnbull Government to match our $75m commitment to expanding the Port of Townsville.”
Member for Townsville Scott Stewart said the Port’s channel widening project was a fundamental part of the economic future of Townsville and NOrth Queensland.
“It’s by expanding capacity at the Port that we’ll be able to increase efficiency, grow freight volumes and in turn support demand and future needs for the TEARC,” he said.
Mr Bailey said increased commodity demand, any major new trades, population growth in North Queensland or changed land use could trigger the future need for TEARC.
“Until then it is important we protect the corridor for future construction,” he said.
The proposed TEARC route will travel from Cluden on the North Coast Line, through the Townsville State Development Area for about 3.5 kilometres before joining the existing Eastern Access Corridor and running northward parallel to the Southern Port Road to the Port.