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Moree - Yetman - Toowoomba rail link provides opportunity for New England.

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Further information contact Tony Windsor, Ph (02) 6761 3080 or 0427 66 8868

12 October 2007

Moree - Yetman - Toowoomba Rail Link provides opportunity for New England

The announcement today of the Moree to Toowoomba rail link via Yetman to be constructed by the Australian Transport & Energy Corridor Ltd (ATEC) is great news providing a good opportunity for the New England according to the Independent Member for New England Tony Windsor.

Mr Windsor also believes that the ATEC strategy should be used by the supporters of the reopening of the New England rail line to follow their lead.

“I congratulate ATEC and its Chairman Everald Compton the long time champion of this project, for having the vision and commitment to taking up the challenge to provide the missing link for an inland rail link between Melbourne and Queensland.

The Federal Government has procrastinated for over ten years on the Inland Rail Project dangling carrots in front of country communities and throwing the odd few million dollars at feasibility studies and scoping studies and ‘naval’ studies but it has taken a man of vision like Everald Compton, fed up with Government inertia to take a stand, get his team together and move forward selecting a route based on economics not politics including through Yetman in the north of the New England electorate which could boost the prospects of the proposed Ashford coal mine coming on line.

The line will also provide an alternate route for 700,000 tonnes of wheat north of Moree as well as another route for the cotton produced in the region,” Mr Windsor said.

Mr Windsor believes that ATEC’s commitment and strategy shows the way for the supporters of the New England line.

“I’m sure that the rail corridor north of Armidale can be secured for reopening by a private consortium negotiating with the NSW and Queensland Governments and I will be approaching both the current supporters of the proposal and Everald Compton to come together to bring this project to fruition.

It can be done and whilst the Federal Government continues with its carrot dangling and no direct project funding further west, the New England line can be up and operational providing a profitable route from Sydney to Brisbane and vice versa where the majority of freight will continue to move.

The ATEC proposal opens up additional options for the reopening of the New England route.

The New England route could not only be used for surplus Sydney-Brisbane freight it could also be used for Melbourne-Brisbane freight which could then connect with the ATEC project at Toowoomba.

It just needs the right strategy and commitment,” Mr Windsor said.




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