A centralised state-of-the-art inland freight hub in Central Queensland is a significant step closer to reality today after its developer, Alan Stent Smith, confirmed Graincorp will set up a grain receival business at the Yamala facility near Emerald.
Central Highlands Regional Council Mayor Councillor Kerry Hayes said that this was a long-awaited and critical point reached following successful negotiations over cost sharing for highway access and upgrades to Bonnie Doon Road.
‘What council and the Central Highlands Development Corporation have been planning and negotiating and advocating for quite some time now is this—a substantial road to rail interface to support the movement of grain to the port of Gladstone and reduce the impact on local roads.
‘Literally hundreds of thousands of tonnes of Central Queensland grain will be taken off our roads to take advantage of the 20-tonne axle loading that the electrified central rail line offers.
‘I can’t stress enough that this is a win-all-round project: farmers win by reducing grain transport costs, council wins by reducing road maintenance costs, the community wins from the employment opportunities and having safer roads—it exemplifies the regional economic development and innovation that all levels of government are promoting.
Central Highlands Regional Council’s commitment to the project so far is upwards of $1.7 M.
‘Council believes in this project and we’ve proved that with dollars. Where we are today is the stepping off point,’ the mayor explained.
‘Member for Gregory, Lachlan Millar, whose support and assistance for this project has been pivotal and unwavering, has convened a meeting on Thursday with key ministers of the Palaszczuk government to discuss funding for the construction of the rail loop and local road upgrades, which council is already planning.’
The mayor said that he hopes today’s announcement is one of many that support important agricultural investments in the region, such as the meat works and the agricultural precinct.