Resources companies in the Surat Basin were today greeted with the welcome news that the long-awaited Inland Rail project still has the support of the Deputy Prime Minister.
Speaking at the National Party’s first Party Room meeting for 2015, Warren Truss, leader of the party and Deputy PM, said the Nationals were fervent supporters of the infrastructure project.
“It is a priority for us in Government. We are making it happen with $300 million included in the Government’s infrastructure programme to get construction underway, ” the Minister said.
“It will boost national productivity, helping consumers through lower transport costs and supporting economic development along the corridor as a major fillip for agriculture, mining and other regional industries.”
Shane Charles, CEO of Toowoomba and Surat Basin Enterprise welcomed the news.
“For Toowoomba, Surat Basin and Darling Downs regions, we absolutely need this vital piece of infrastructure,” Mr Charles said.
“These numbers have been thrown around a lot, but the reality is that 50% of trade travelling to or emanating from the Port of Brisbane comes from Toowoomba and regions west, and freight demand is only going to increase in coming years.
“We need an efficient rail system to accommodate for this demand and to remove the strain from our roads.
“Not only that, Inland Rail will bring an influx of jobs and economic activity to the region, and open export opportunities and increasing market accessibility for our regional agriculture and resource sectors that were strengthened last year by the development of the Brisbane West Wellcamp Airport.
“Today’s announcement proves that the trifecta of road, rail and air connectivity is still in sight for the Toowoomba and Surat Basin region – we will be the Inland Port of Australia.”
The project, due to begin construction later this year, will see a rail line link the Port of Melbourne directly to the Port of Brisbane via tunnels through the Toowoomba Range.