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A NEW grain handling facility will now be built to anchor the proposed Central Queensland inland port near Emerald.
The Queensland Government announced funding for a new rail siding connecting to the site today. GrainCorpannounced
AgForce Grains president Wayne Newton said the announcement was fantastic news that would create local jobs, help secure the viability of the agricultural rail network in Queensland, reduce transport costs for grain growers and take thousands of trucks off regional roads.
"AgForce has been calling on the Queensland Government to invest in rail infrastructure to support the grain industry and the $2.6 million funding for a new rail siding at Yamala will unlock an additional $18.5 million investment from GrainCorp," Mr Newton said.
"This now means a new grain facility can go ahead with 180,000 tonnes of storage capacity, the ability to handle longer trains both now and into the future, and faster train cycling times to Gladstone.
"It's also a win for the local community as it gets more grain trucks off regional roads in Central Queensland and allows grain to be efficiently handled away from the Emerald township."
GrainCorp announced it would build the new Yamala silo in November. CLICK HERE to read that story.
Mr Newton said today's announcement was a positive first step, but more needed to be done to improve grain rail infrastructure in both central and southern Queensland.
Rail transport is far more efficient than road transport.
"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.
"The new rail siding at Yamala is just one part of the picture. The Moura rail link that was damaged during flooding in 2011 still needs to be repaired so grain in the area doesn't need to be transported by road.
"The buck passing between the Queensland Government and Aurizon over this rail link needs to stop. Grain growers just want the rail line re-opened as it would unlock a further $3 million investment from GrainCorp to upgrade rail loading at their Moura site.
"Grain growers warmly welcome the $2.6 million announced today for the new rail siding at Yamala, but more rail infrastructure investment is needed to ensure Queensland doesn't fall behind other states on supply chain costs so we can capitalise on export opportunities."
This article first appeared on www.northqueenslandregister.com.au
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