Freight Rail

Yamala funding welcomed, but industry wants more rail action

Grain. Photo: Shutterstock

Rural producer representative AgForce has welcomed government support to develop an inland port at Yamala, east of Emerald in Central Queensland.

AgForce said the $6.4 million in state funding, along with $2.6 million from the Central Highlands Regional Council, $2.6 million from GrainCorp, and $1.7 million from CQ Inland Port, will build a new state-of-the-art grain handling facility and inland port complete with a rail siding.

AgForce grains president Wayne Newton said the announcement was fantastic news that would create local jobs, help secure the viability of the agricultural rail network in Queensland, reduce transport costs for grain growers and take thousands of trucks off regional roads.

“This now means a new grain facility can go ahead with 180,000 tonnes of storage capacity, the ability to handle longer trains both now and into the future, and faster train cycling times to Gladstone,” Newton said.

“It’s also a win for the local community as it gets more grain trucks off regional roads in Central Queensland and allows grain to be efficiently handled away from the Emerald township.”

While Newton said the announcement was a positive first step, he was adamant more needs to be done to improve grain rail infrastructure in both central and southern Queensland.

“Transport makes up more than a third of growers’ cost of production so for our grains industry to be globally competitive, we need to be able to get our product to port as efficiently as possible, and rail transport is far more efficient than road transport,” he said.

“The new rail siding at Yamala is just one part of the picture. The Moura rail link that was damaged during flooding in 2011 still needs to be repaired so grain in the area doesn’t need to be transported by road.

“The buck passing between the Queensland Government and Aurizon over this rail link needs to stop. Grain growers just want the rail line re-opened as it would unlock a further $3 million investment from Grain Corp to upgrade rail loading at their Moura site.

“Grain growers warmly welcome the $2.6 million announced today for the new rail siding at Yamala, but more rail infrastructure investment is needed to ensure Queensland doesn’t fall behind other states on supply chain costs so we can capitalise on export opportunities.”