Rail studies boost for North West industries

Media Release


08 July 2015

The Australian Government will develop  partnerships with the Queensland and Northern Territory Governments to undertake feasibility studies on an upgrade of the freight railway line between Townsville and Mount Isa, and the construction of a new line between Mount Isa and Tennant Creek.

The studies will consider the viability and economic opportunities created by a new transport link between Queensland and the Northern Territory.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development Warren Truss outlined the plan while in Mount Isa today.

“These two rail lines have the potential to improve access to global markets for local producers and deliver economic growth to the entire region,” Mr Truss said.

“The Mount Isa-Tennant Creek study will assess the viability of a 600 kilometre link between the two regional centres as part of the Government's plan to develop northern Australia.

“Rail remains a key transport mode for getting bulk goods to market, and conducting a Mount Isa-Tennant Creek feasibility study will help determine the best transport links to support business owners and residents between those two centres.

“Likewise, the study into upgrading the ageing Mount Isa-Townsville line is great news for the region, which supports a range of industries crucial to Australia's economic success, including mineral resources and beef cattle exports.

“The Australian Government is committed to developing Northern Australia and should these projects  prove viable, up to $5 billion in concessional loans is available to the private sector, including mining operators, and state and territory governments, to build key infrastructure projects including rail.”

Mr Truss said improving transport links in the region would benefit local operators, the national economy more broadly and send the right message to Australia's major trading partners.

“Obviously many overseas operations are in need of a reliable supply of goods at a competitive price, and delivering this rail link may help service that growing demand,” he said.

The Australian Government has committed $5 million to undertake freight rail feasibility studies in northern Australia 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.