Coalition to stop Ipswich coal trains
COAL trains in Ipswich suburbs are set to be consigned to the dustbin of history.
Nationals leader Warren Truss said the Coalition had committed $300 million to finalise plans for the Toowoomba to Acacia Ridge sections of the Inland Rail Link, stretching from the Port of Brisbane to Melbourne.
One of the sections of the line includes a dedicated new rail corridor from Rosewood to Agaru in Brisbane's south, which will then proceed to Acacia Ridge before linking with another corridor through to the Port of Brisbane.
This means the 120 trains a week that carry coal, freight and agricultural goods from the west will be off the Ipswich passenger line after being diverted onto their own freight route from Rosewood.
Work is set to start on the section within three years with a view to having it operational by 2019. The QT understands 120 properties in rural areas will be affected between Rosewood and Agaru.
Already, about 27 properties have been acquired by the Department of Transport and Main Roads in the corridor.
The entire project is expected to be completed within 10 years.
Mr Truss said the project would "ensure that our transport network is ready to do the heavy lifting required to meet Australia's growing freight transport task of the next 50 years".
The Newman LNP Government is also funding some of the Queensland sections of the project. Ipswich West MP Sean Choat said the Ipswich region would benefit environmentally and economically.
"The timing of this couldn't be better. We have had a lot of people talking about their concerns regarding coal dust," he said.
"This means that the issue is being dealt with.
"One of the big concerns in communities like Wulkaraka is that people are already putting up with these coal trains. "The good thing now is that we are not going to have these coal trains going through local stations. I am openly pro-rail. It is part of our history and there is no reason why it can't be a part of our future.
"In the construction phase there will be jobs for our local people to tap into.
"The new corridor also gives so much more opportunity to get more freight off the road and onto its own specific corridor and off to where it is going." LNP candidate for Blair Teresa Harding said the project was "another great outcome for our community and economy".
Deputy Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said Labor was also committed to completing the remaining sections of the Inland Rail Link.
"Already we have done much to progress this vital project," he said.
"Over the past five years, we have invested almost $600 million rebuilding the existing track that will eventually form around 60% of the final Inland Rail link.
The additional pre-construction work along the rest of the corridor will be funded from the $300 million set aside in the budget's forward estimates."