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another big hurdle

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    Looks like the railway is goignt o get the nod...

    Surat Basin railway 'missing link' a step closer: Beattie
    July 12, 2007
    The Queensland Government's goal of further opening up the Surat Basin's vast coal reserves moved a step closer today after it made unconditional an exclusive mandate for a consortium to build the Surat Basin Railway.

    Premier Peter Beattie says the Government is satisfied the proposed 207km railway linking Wandoan and Banana meets its Public Private Partnership Value for Money criteria.

    "Today's decision will enable the consortium to develop the project through to financial close," he says.

    The consortium comprises the Australian Transport and Energy Corridor, Dawson Valley Railway, Industry Funds Management, Queensland Rail and miners Xstrata Coal and Anglo Coal.

    "This is a great day for not only the Consortium, but also the State's economy and the coal industry," Beattie says.

    He says the project will lead to the single biggest economic injection ever for the Darling Downs and the south-west.

    "Today' s announcement is an example of how the private sector and the Government can work together to deliver major infrastructure at no cost to the taxpayer, but with great benefit to the State's economy through the creation of new jobs and additional royalties.

    Transport Minister Paul Lucas says the railway proposal, should it proceed, will involve construction of a 207km rail link between Wandoan and Banana and upgrades to the existing rail infrastructure from Toowoomba to Wandoan and Banana to Gladstone.

    "This will open up the production and export of thermal coal from the currently under utilised but coal-rich Surat Basin," he says.

    The Government also confirmed today that Queensland Rail will retain ownership of the rail infrastructure from Wandoan to Toowoomba and from Banana to Gladstone and that the State will retain ownership of the new rail corridor between Wandoan and Banana.

    "Once constructed, the railway will be an open access line with sufficient capacity to meet demand from coal and other freight users well into the future," Lucas says.

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