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Queensland’s $1bn southern link close to approval

<p>Plans to build the long-awaited southern missing link for Queensland’s coal exports have &#8220significantly advanced&#8221, premier Peter Beattie said this morning (Friday, July 28).</p> <p>Mr Beattie told the 2006 Major Projects Conference in Brisbane that a $1bn rail line, connecting Toowoomba and the port of Gladstone, could be operational within five years.</p> <p>The line, expected to form part of the proposed Melbourne-Gladstone rail link, would open up access to estimated reserves of 4bn tonnes of thermal coal from the Surat Basin. </p> <p>The project, now being assessed by a consortium, will include the construction of the 207 km missing link between Wandoan and Moura. </p> <p>The line will give the Darling Downs and Maranoa areas access to the port of Gladstone instead of being limited to using the port of Brisbane. </p> <p>The Queensland Government is also examining the northern missing link, a 72 km gap in the line between Newlands and North Goonyella, which would allow coal to move through Abbot Point rather than be exported exclusively from Hay Point.</p> <br />