Monday 25th Mar, 2019

Cash granted for Mount Isa-Tennant Creek study

Mount Isa, Queensland. Photo: Creative Commons
Mount Isa, Queensland. Photo: Creative Commons

$6 million in government funding has been committed to undertake feasibility studies on an upgrade of the rail line between Townsville and Mount Isa, and the construction of a new line connecting Mount Isa with the Adelaide-Darwin railway at Tennant Creek.

Deputy prime minister Warren Truss on Wednesday announced the Federal Government had committed $5 million to the studies, while the Northern Territory Government would commit $1 million.

The funding is the result of the North Australian White Paper, released on June 18.

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

The NT Government announced its plans to contribute $1 million to study the Mount Isa-Tennant Creek project in April, when it announced its 2015 Budget.

Chief Minister Adam Giles said the NT needed to invest heavily in its infrastructure for its future. A new 600km rail project linking the two centres has the potential to provide “enormous economic opportunities,” he said.

Deputy PM Truss agrees the project could be of great value, and said the Commonwealth would look to work with the Queensland and NT governments on studying the options available.

“Rail remains a key transport mode for getting bulk goods to market,” Truss said.

“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.

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.

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