AusRAIL, Market Sectors

Newman unveils Galilee Basin development plan

<span class="" id="parent-fieldname-description"> Queensland’s state government has released a plan aimed at easing the development of rail and other infrastructure in the state’s coal-rich Galilee Basin. </span> <p>The Galilee Basin Development Strategy was announced last week by Queensland’s premier, Campbell Newman, at the Major Projects Conference in Brisbane.<br /><br />The premier said the strategy would help build the state’s resource sector as “one of the four pillars of the Queensland economy.”<br /><br />He also criticised the previous state government for leaving a “planning mess” for his government to untangle.<br /><br />“My government is unashamedly all about growing the business of Queensland and we will do all we can to facilitate the projects proposed for the Galilee Basin,” Newman said.<br /><br />“But the six different railway proposals the Labor Government had allowed to progress to get the coal to port were unacceptable and would have resulted in more impact on landholders and the environment.<br /><br />“My government promised to deliver better infrastructure and better planning and this is precisely what we’ll do through the Galilee Basin Development Strategy.” <br /><br />Deputy premier and minister for state development, infrastructure and planning, Jeff Seeney, said the strategy would encourage miners who are currently considering major projects.<br /><br />“Companies that are currently investigating opening mines in the Galilee Basin are contemplating many billions of dollars of investments,” Seeney said.<br /><br />“My government is mindful of the financial magnitude of these investments and the long lead times between financial commitment and shipping the first coal to its offshore destination, which is why we are offering incentives.<br /><br />“The Galilee Basin Development Strategy is designed to encourage first movers – those proponents whom the government consider would play a vital role in opening up the basin for their own projects and opening up the basin for other miners as well.”<br /><br />As part of the plan, the Newman Government will offer reduced royalties for new projects, as well as access to the T2 site at Abbot Point (which was interestingly just abandoned by BHP).<br /><br />&nbsp“These incentives, along with the strategy’s streamlined solutions for planning, land acquisition, water, power and rail, will ensure projects have the best chance of going ahead in the Galilee Basin.”<br /><br />Tim Fischer, former prime minister and rail expert, said a key aspect of the plan would be that any new rail links be built on standard gauge rail.<br /><br />Speaking at the Australian Planning Institute, according to the ABC, he said standard gauge rail is a far better option for coal transport than narrow gauge.<br /><br />Aurizon, Queensland’s biggest coal haulier, welcomed the development strategy.<br /><br />Managing director and chief executive officer of Aurizon, Lance Hockridge, said the company was well-positioned to support the opening up of the Basin.<br /><br />“Aurizon has been developing an integrated rail transport and port solution for Galilee Basin coal over the past two years and has been working closely with a range of parties,” he said.<br /><br />“Our work is advancing both from an engineering and a commercial perspective, and is closely aligned with the Government strategy – getting early tonnes out of the Galilee, at lower cost by tapping into existing infrastructure and consolidating tonnages onto a single corridor.<br /><br />“Aurizon’s ultimate aim is to bring our commercial strength and operational knowledge to the equation with an open access, consolidated infrastructure solution for the Galilee.”</p>