QLD Parliament seeking to move freight from trucks to trains

A Queensland Parliamentary committee will investigate how to get more regional freight on to trains.

Transport Minister Scott Emerson asked the Transport, Housing and Local Government Committee to investigate and report on options and incentives that ensure the agricultural and livestock industry made better use of rail.

This would build on the government's draft Moving Freight strategy released in June to meet a growing demand for freight movements in the coming decade.

"I've asked the committee to take a closer look at the operational needs of the industry to ensure we can meet the goals set out in the strategy," he said.

"We are already taking steps to prepare for the future by having additional train lines for the Darling Downs, providing more agricultural train services and opening up routes for safer classes of heavy vehicles."

Freight volumes across Queensland are forecast to increase from 881 million tonnes in 2010 to 1550 million tonnes in 2021.

The committee will report to the parliament by mid June 2014.

The draft Moving Freight strategy identifies 38 actions which would support the resources, agriculture, construction and tourism sectors.

It is due to be finalised shortly.

Mr Emerson said he would call on peak bodies like AgForce, Queensland Farmers Federation, Cane Growers Australia, Meat and Livestock Australia, GrainCorp, Cotton Australia and operators such as Queensland Rail, Aurizon and Pacific National to contribute to this investigation.

The committee has been asked to:

  • Identify opportunities to enhance coordination and collaboration across government, transport industry and primary producers about rail freight;
  • Provide future direction for enhancing the utilisation of the rail system for the freight needs of primary producers including future volume, nature, timing and frequency for freight;
  • Identify the characteristics of the future transport system for primary producer freight needs;
  • Identify a broad range of options, including appropriate risk sharing amongst supply chain participants, for delivering freight solutions for primary producers;
  • Optimise the capacity and performance of the rail system for freight;
  • Plan a rail system that is positioned to exploit future freight, particularly export opportunities;
  • Develop sustainable long-term solutions for freight movement by rail for the agriculture and livestock industry.