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Beattie Government announces boost to coal infrastructure.



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Premier of Queensland and Minister for Trade

Executive Building

100 George Street Brisbane PO Box 15185 City East Queensland 4002 Australia

Telephone +61 7 3224 4500 Facsimile +61 7 3221 3631 Email ThePremier@premiers.qld.gov.au Website www.thepremier.qld.gov.au

BEATTIE GOVERNMENT ANNOUNCES BOOST TO COAL INFRASTRUCTURE

The State Government will provide a further multi-million boost to investment in Queensland coal infrastructure, Premier Peter Beattie announced today.

Mr Beattie said following the O’Donnell review into the Goonyella coal supply chain, the State Government had approved a massive $113 million investment from Queensland Rail to purchase 510 new coal wagons.

“Coal is one of Queensland’s most important exports,” Mr Beattie said.

“In 2005-06, coal exports were worth $17.9 billion to the Queensland economy, which is why we joined Queensland Resources Council in commissioning the O’Donnell review.

“Queensland’s coal industry is doing well but we aim to do better, which is why we’ve announced this investment today.”

Mr Beattie said he had asked Deputy Premier Anna Bligh and Minister for Transport and Main Roads Paul Lucas to review future structural arrangements and for the Chairman of QR to report back through them with proposals for consideration.

He said recent changes in the QR structure, including the creation of separate dedicated coal and bulk freight business groups were intended to provide greater customer focus for the businesses and increase accountability.

“These changes had received industry support, however further changes may yet be needed,” Mr Beattie said.

“I have requested QR’s Shareholding Ministers review future structural arrangements and for Mr John Prescott, Chair, QR, to report back to them with proposals in one month for consideration.

“As I’ve already made very clear - QR won’t be privatised.

“However, the aim of this process is to ensure we find the structure which best supports QR’s continuing national freight and coal business expansion.

“It is quite clear that QR is well positioned to become a significant competitor in the national logistics industry, specifically in QR’s bulk and general freight businesses.

“If QR does not become a national player and competitive with the likes of Toll, it will find it very difficult to survive.”

Ms Bligh said QR was currently engaging with rollingstock suppliers and expected that commitments to new rollingstock would occur in the near future. /2

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“This will complement the existing rollingstock program with QR currently investing $1.4 billion in additional coal rollingstock with construction and delivery of over 800 new coal wagons by early 2008,” Ms Bligh said.

“The $113 million to purchase new wagons is on top of 370 wagons already under purchase by QR.

“QR has also commenced a business improvement program consistent with Mr O’Donnell’s recommendations and has appointed a consulting firm with invaluable experience in the Hunter Valley coal supply chain.

“The project team will consult closely with Mr O’Donnell and industry and include regular updates on progress.”

Mr Lucas said the new funding added to the State Government’s massive investment in coal infrastructure.

“Nearly 20 years ago in 1988-89, Queensland exported 59 million tonnes (Mt) of coal. In 2006-07, coal exports have risen to approx 153 million tonnes. That’s a 142% increase since 1988-89 and a 30% increase since 2001.

“Queensland Rail has also become the world's largest coal export rail-transport provider. In 1990-91 it hauled 67Mt of coal. In 2006-07 that figure increased to 164Mt - a 144% increase.

“This is on the back of massive government investment during a time when coal prices were low and mining companies were not clamouring to export their product as they are now.

“Many miners would tell you that this is the largest and longest boom they have seen and that they could probably fill up even three times the capacity if it became available.”

Mr Lucas said the current committed expenditure by port Government Owned Corporations and QR on coal transport infrastructure was around $2.9 billion.

“Further private sector investments of $1.5 billion are underway at the two privately owned coal terminals at Hay Point and BHP Billiton Mitsubishi Alliance. That’s $4.4 billion worth of current investment,” Mr Lucas said.

“More importantly our current ports coal capacity of 195 Mtpa will increase to 219 Mtpa at the end of 2007 with a further increases to 263Mtpa by the end of 2010.”

Mr Lucas said the Ports Corporation of Queensland had commenced preliminary work for the Abbot Point Coal Terminal Stage Three expansion, expected to increase terminal capacity to 50 mtpa.

Queensland Rail and the Central Queensland Ports Authority (CQPA) have commenced feasibility investigations into a new coal terminal at Wiggins Island located within the Port of Gladstone and are currently discussing demand requirements with potential users.

The Wiggins Island Coal Terminal project was declared by the Coordinator-General as a "significant project" and the CQPA, in conjunction with QR, have commissioned the preparation of a draft Environmental Impact Statement.”

30 July, 2007

Further inquiries: Premier’s Office: 3224 4500

Minister for Transport: 3237 1942