Work has started on a $2.5 million project to upgrade rail infrastructure for the expansion of Oakey Beef Exports in South West Queensland.
Queensland Rail crews will upgrade a rail siding at Mitchell, and re-open a section of the old Cecil Plains branch line, which has been shut for over a decade.
The old track on the branch line will be removed, before earthworks make way for crews to build 1.3 kilometres of upgraded track, including 1900 sleepers and 2300 tonnes of ballast.
The upgrade will allow cattle services to operate from Quilpie, Charleville, Morven, Roma and Mitchell to Oakey, where Oakey Beef Exports is undertaking a multi-million dollar plant expansion designed to double its output.
Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk on August 18 told State Parliament the expansion would unlock a potential $1.3 billion in economic activity around the region.
“This investment will generate significant economic benefits within Oakey and surrounding areas, delivering a major boost for regional jobs and bolster economic confidence in this region,” the premier said.
Treasurer Curtis Pitt said the project, including the upgrade of the Mitchell siding, is expected to be completed by early November, weather and constructions conditions permitting.
He said Queensland Rail is also continuing to work with Oakey Beef Exports to look for further opportunities to upgrade rail infrastructure on the Western line.
“Queensland Rail prides itself on being a good neighbour in the community and they have assured me all works will be completed during daylight hours only and any expected noise from construction will be communicated in advance to nearby landowners,” he added.
Transport minister Stirling Hinchliffe said the Oakey Beef project reflected the Government’s commitment to investing in rail freight to support the agricultural industry and jobs growth for Queensland.
“The Government is also investing $32.4 million for the Toowoomba Range Clearance Upgrade project, which will to help boost regional freight capacity between the Darling Downs and the Port of Brisbane,” Hinchliffe said.
“This project involves lowering tunnel floors to allow the clearance of 9’6” high freight shipping containers, which are increasingly used to export goods, across the range.”