Railway engineering will be under the spotlight in Queensland, following news that a state parliamentary committee will be investigating regional freight rail.
Scott Emerson, transport and main roads minister, requested that options and incentives be examined to allow the agricultural and livestock sectors to make better use of rail.
The Transport, Housing and Local Government Committee will examine the issue and report on possible solutions that will boost Queensland industry.
Mr Emerson stated: “Our draft strategy Moving Freight, released in June, delivers a blueprint for better infrastructure and planning to meet a growing demand for freight movements in the coming decade.
“I’ve asked the committee to take a closer look at the operational needs of the industry to ensure we can meet the goals set out in the strategy.”
The minister highlighted work already being done by the state government, including having extra train lines added to Darling Downs, which is expected to offer more agricultural rail services and open up routes for safer classes of heavy vehicles.
Freight volumes across the state are predicted to almost double within an 11-year period, rising from 881 million tonnes in 2010 to 1,550 million tonnes in 2021.
Specific areas the committee has been asked to address include railway engineering issues, such as optimising the capacity and performance of Queensland’s rail system to deal with freight.
The committee will also explore ways to enhance co-ordination and collaboration between the government, industry and primary producers, as well as identifying areas where the freight needs of the future can be delivered for improved service.
Queensland’s freight export opportunities will also be evaluated, along with potential sustainable long-term solutions for agricultural and livestock rail movement.
Mr Emerson confirmed he is calling on peak bodies to help, such as AgForce, the Queensland Farmers Federation, Meat and Livestock Australia and GrainCorp, among others.