Government rejects call for QR to ship freight again

QUEENSLAND Rail will not be returning to the freight industry after the Queensland Government rejected a parliamentary recommendation.

The state parliamentary transport committee recommended Queensland Rail provide freight services in the "short term" until commercial providers could fill the gap in regional locations.

However, the final response from the government rejected the recommendation.

"The government supports agricultural and general freight transport on rail, but does not support Queensland Rail re-entering the freight business," the response read.

"Its re-entry into a rail freight operator role would be contrary to government objectives to make better use of the skills, capacity and innovation of the private sector."

A spokeswoman for Transport Minister Scott Emerson said Queensland Rail did not have the ability to operate as a freight mover.

"Since the former Labor Government sold off QR National in 2010, Queensland Rail no longer has the assets or resources if it were to re-establish a freight presence," she said.

"Queensland Rail should concentrate on its core business of delivering passenger transport services and maintaining the best rail on-time record in the country.

"Out of the 45 recommendations in the parliamentary inquiry, the Queensland Government supports 39, partially supports four and does not support two."

Rail, Tram and Bus Union state secretary Owen Doogan said rail transport was projected to increase in the coming years and the government needed to nominate who would pick up the slack.

"Our position is, quite simply, we believe there is a fundamental requirement for more freight, both agricultural and other, to be put on rail," he said.

"If that's not going to be through QR, and I don't think anyone really expected it would be, the government needs to say who and how. They've got to come out and tell us."

- APN NEWSDESK



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