Inland rail should go to Gladstone not Brisbane

I am concerned at the way the Federal Government is leading and directing the inland rail development past Goondiwindi to Brisbane instead of going from Goondiwindi to Gladstone.

I would like to put forward the following points for your readers to consider.

(1) The inland port proposal based on Beaudesert has just shown how inappropriate that is, following cyclone Debbie. The roads around this proposed port were smashed and cut off for weeks after the Logan River broke its banks.

(2) The route from Toowoomba to Brisbane port has to cut through several ranges, adding huge costs & disruption to traffic flows in and around Brisbane to get to the port.

(3) The West Brisbane Air Port development is a truly great asset and Wagners have to be commended for the vision and effort they have put into this. But does this project have the capacity to lift huge tonnages of produce from this airport into Asia at an economical rate? Huge freight lifters would have to operate out of this airport to make this situation a paying proposition.

(4) The proposed route from Yelarbon to Wellcamp cuts through some of the most fertile small farming districts on the Downs and is causing great concern to these farmers and small towns, as it cuts through and across major highway systems connecting Queensland’s population to the south. Is this a wise move into the future as our population in these areas increases?

My reasons for going to Gladstone are as follows.

(1) Goondiwindi district could become an inland port and distribution centre for Australia, as there are six highways leading out of Goondiwindi in all directions connecting Dalby, Moree, Inverell and St George districts.

On the right tack? Or not?

On the right tack? Or not?

(2) We have the potential for a huge increase in production capacity in the Border Rivers and Condamine River catchments, from Kingaroy south to Inverell – west to Bourke & north to Dirranbandi, Miles and back to Kingaroy. Goondiwindi could become a massive packaging and distribution centre. I feel the Councils in this area should have all guns blazing, to have this facility in this district. Building a freight only air field in Goondiwindi would shift freight into Asia and distribute goods into South Australia, Western Australia and the Northern Territory. These areas are investing their tax money into the inland rail project, but they are not directly benefitting from this trade opportunity. Please note that there are very little hills and rises to obstruct huge freight lifters out of the Goondiwindi district.

(3) Gladstone port is under capacity. New coal mines at Wandoan are opening up and with the Billion dollar loan schemes the federal government are offering to overseas coal companies, the Surat Basin Railway, 450k from Miles to Gladstone, could be started straight away and the rail link from Goondiwindi to Miles could actually be built sooner than the inland rail connection from Melbourne to Goondiwindi is completed. The relatively flat terrain from Goondiwindi to Gladstone should be a breeze in comparison to going to Brisbane.

(4) When I went to Gatton College, most of south-east Queensland’s small crops were grown in the Lockyer Valley and around Redlands. The sources where our food is grown have now changed, due to importing food & to growing food around the Bundaberg area.

So - as I have mentioned, the Border Rivers, Bundaberg, Fitzroy Basin and north to the Atherton Tablelands, could become the essential food production areas for two thirds of the Australian population, who live in the greater Brisbane, Sydney, Canberra and Melbourne city clusters. If you take in the free trade agreements into Asia that have to be honoured, then the inland rail line would become an essential life line to these people as back freight. Eg Darwin supplies Adelaide with water melons; the north would be able to supply the south with out of season produce, boosting northern development.

For these reasons I feel it is straight out common sense to have a fast freight line going straight to Gladstone. It is a closer port to Asia. I could be wrong, but what do you think?

Don Cranney

Bethel Homestead

Yelarbon Qld 4388