$110m boost to QR rail depot

THE construction of Queensland Rail's Wulkuraka maintenance depot will begin this financial year after the project was given a $110 million funding boost by the Newman Government.

The funding was allocated in last week's state Budget, but a starting date for the project is yet to be announced.

But Ipswich West MP Sean Choat said the $110 million would be spent on building the depot by the end of the financial year.

He said the development of the Ada St site is still in the planning phase, with a community forum planned to discuss the depot.

The plans have caused neighbouring residents to raise concerns about potential noise from the workshops and any harm to koala habitats surrounding the site.

Plans for the depot were first announced in 2011, but whether the depot would ever go ahead led to debate between residents and the Ipswich West MP.

It will create 200 jobs and service 75 of QR's six-car rolling stock fleet.

Mr Choat said the funding announcement was a win for the region.

"Over the years we've seen the North Ipswich Workshops all but closed and the majority of Redbank Workshops sold off in 2010 - this development brings the railway back to Ipswich," he said.

"We are the artery of the vital western corridor and rail is the heart of Ipswich.

"This $110 million commitment is an investment in our community and a vote of confidence by the government in our potential."

Mr Choat said the injection of 200 new jobs was timely given the axing of 30 staff from manufacturer Bradken this week.

"We'll see up to 200 jobs at the facility and I am going to look at potential for apprenticeships and traineeships for our young people as part of that.

"Just yesterday we saw announcements about jobs lost at one of our local heavy manufacturers, so this has come at a great time.

"The hope is that this operation will also create opportunities for existing businesses in the area. I'm excited at this prospect as it's just what we need."

Mr Choat said residents will have a say about how the development takes shape.

"I'm writing to invite them to a meeting so as a community we can outline our requirements for me to put to the Minister."

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