“AgForce and Grain Corp have been calling on the Queensland Government to invest up to $11 million towards a $52 million project to construct two new state-of-the-art grain handling facilities and upgrade the rail freight network in southern and central Queensland,” he said.
“While we appreciate the funding for regional roads projects included in the State Budget, an investment in this rail freight project would also reduce the strain on regional roads so we are disappointed nothing has been committed yet to make it a reality.
“An $11 million commitment from the State Government would unlock a further $41 million from Grain Corp and increase grain on rail to more than 800,000 tonnes a year, underpinning the viability and growth of Queensland’s grain industry.”
Mr Newton said Queensland grain growers risked falling behind other states and missing out on export opportunities this year and into the future without more investment in rail infrastructure.
“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.
“Grain Corp’s Project Regeneration would be a game changer for the grains industry and secure the viability of the agricultural rail network in Queensland for decades to come.
“There would also be massive benefits for the broader community by keeping 20,000 grain trucks a year off the road and out of the ports, reducing the strain on local roads and congestion on the highway and roads leading into the Brisbane, Gladstone and Mackay ports.
“All that is needed now is for the State Government to give the green light for funding through their Jobs and Regional Growth Fund so Grain Corp can get started on this shovel-ready project that would create or underpin more than 500 jobs in regional Queensland.”