MP disgusted at rail line closure

THE DECISION to permanently close the Theebine to Kingaroy rail line has disgusted Federal Member for Wide Bay Warren Truss, who has slammed the move as “further evidence that the Bligh government has given up on rail”.

Consultation between the Department of Transport and Main Roads, South Burnett and Gympie councils determined last week that the ongoing maintenance of the disused line were not good use of public funds.

Acting Main Roads Minister Rachel Nolan said greater benefits could be gained by diverting the projected $19 million needed to maintain the line for another 10 years into projects that would deliver an improved community benefit.

However, Mr Truss said he believed the mothballing of the railway line was a sign “Labor has completely failed the state’s railways”.

“The Kingaroy line is not now even up for sale as the government has used the cover of the Christmas season to announce its permanent closure,” he said.

“There are already thousands of extra semi-trailers on the road every day because Queensland Rail is no longer even trying to compete for freight business. Queensland Rail now owns more trucks than trains and they fight with motorists for space on an overtaxed road system.”

Mr Truss said that, unless the rail system played a more effective role in delivering the nation’s freight, the number of trucks on our roads would double over the next 20 years.

“The state highways including the Wide Bay Highway simply cannot cope with these extra truck movements,” he said.

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