Christopher Chan GLA310812TRAK

Calls to get Oakey rail back on the right track

TEN mayors are determined to right a multi-generational problem which has left western towns languishing with a lack of services and facilities.

Toowoomba Mayor Paul Antonio and nine of his colleagues from councils around the region, will take the fight to upgrade the western rail corridor which he says will deliver an economic boost to towns that have dwindled as a result of poor rail services.

It comes as Oakey Beef declares its plans to double production and create 500 new jobs in the process.

But the roadblock is the rail line toward which the processor owner Nippon Ham has pledged $60 million to upgrade, calling on the state and federal governments to commit $2.5 million each toward the upgrade.

Cr Antonio said it was about time rail infrastructure was upgraded.

"There is no doubt the era is dawning that we need to make use of rail," he said.

"The infrastructure that is in place isn't what it should be.

"I think there has been a failure to invest in the rail system and that's a multi-generational failure.

"We're talking about the inland rail system that should have been done 40 or 50 years ago."

The rail upgrade proposes to revive the existing line west of Toowoomba to towns such as Dalby, and east to the Port of Brisbane where packaged processed meat from Oakey Beef would be exported to international customers.

Cr Antonio said the region was well-placed to export around the globe, and the rail line to the Port of Brisbane would provide another viable outlet for farmers to meet international demand.

He said the rail upgrade would not jeopardise the trucking industry which would continue to service the western regions.

The upgrade will form part of today's LGAQ agenda.


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