Queensland Rail risking more road fatalities

Apr 9, 2024

Queensland Rail’s incompetence and this Minister’s inability to spark action is putting road users’ lives at risk, Katter’s Australian Party Leader, and Member for Traeger, Robbie Katter said.

“The rail link between Mount Isa, in the North West Minerals Province, and Townsville is the safest way to transport millions of tonnes of valuable bulk ore and produce, however more and more of this is being forced onto our roads” Mr Katter said.

Each year 2.75 million tonnes are moved on the Mount Isa – Townsville rail line, but access fees and a flawed business model is forcing the use of triple road trains instead.

“On average, we see at least three people killed each year on the Barkly – Flinders Highway.  That’s before we see more than 30 thousand triple road train trips hit the road,” the member for Traeger said.

“If Queensland Rail do not immediately move to incentivising rail use, rather than driving bulk freight onto the roads we share with families and travellers, more than 80 extra triple road trains will be on the highway each day.

“Put simply, this threatens lives.  Forget the misguided woke agenda of reducing carbon emissions, or less road maintenance, keeping freight on rail will undoubtedly save lives.

“Since 2011 we have seen a 38% decrease in freight on the rail, and this has led Queensland Rail to simply jack up the price they charge the remaining users of the line.

“This is fundamentally unsustainable and looks to me like they have a desire to make the line unviable and shut it down.

“What else can you assume?

“I have raised this very matter with Minister Mellish, and am yet to hear anything other than excuses, or department waffle about how something is ‘too hard’.

“I know what is hard, and that’s attending a funeral for someone who’s life is cut off in their prime.

“The Minister must direct Queensland Rail to take real and immediate action to save lives and keep freight on rail,” Mr Katter said.