Morven residents are celebrating the news that the Federal Government will contribute $4.18 million towards their new rail hub.
Regional Development Minister Fiona Nash announced on Monday that the Morven Rail Hub project was successful in its funding application under the Federal Government’s Building Better Regions Fund (BBRF).
The project is a major boost for the region and is expected to create 10 full time jobs during the construction period followed by two full time jobs after it is complete.
Building is set to start in August and will be completed by June 2018.
“After a competitive merit-based selection process, Federal Government funding has approved for this project under the BBRF’s Infrastructure Projects Stream to deliver priority infrastructure projects throughout regional Australia,” Minister Nash said.
“I aim to help build the kinds of regional communities our children and grandchildren either want to stay in or come back to.
“Today’s announcement provides just the sort of boost the Murweh needs to achieve that goal.”
Maranoa MP David Littleproud said the $4,181,157 funding injection to create the new freight hub would make it easier to transport livestock from Western Queensland for processing in the Darling Downs.
“This new facility will include road-train loading and unloading facilities, rail loading and unloading facilities, cattle yards for spelling and drafting, a live-weight livestock weighing facility and associated storage and amenities,” Mr Littleproud said.
“The Murweh region has been hit hard by the ongoing drought so this investment not only will stimulate the local economy but also create much-needed jobs in this remote community.”
South West RED Chair, Cr Lindsay Godfrey, has long advocated for funding for the Rail Hub.
“Our regional push to utilise more cattle on trains, access to affordable freight and competent supply chains is dependent on this infrastructure,” he said.
Cr Godfrey said South West RED met with all decision makers, including the Prime Minister, when a delegation visited Canberra on the issue last year.
“Senator James McGrath is one of the best supporters we have in South West Queensland and he has worked very closely with us, to ensure our vision for the region is met with support,” Cr Godfrey said.
“In fact, our organisation is grateful to both him and his office for the work they did to help us get this project over the line,” he said.
Cr Godfrey said South West RED has been working with beef producers and processors, in particular, Pat Gleeson and Kurt Wockner at Oakey Beef Exports.
“We have demonstrated all parts of the supply chain will benefit from this project and at the same time, Morven will receive significant returns during and post construction,” he said.
The new facility will include road-train loading and unloading facilities, rail loading and unloading facilities, cattle yards for spelling and drafting, a live-weight livestock weighing facility and associated storage and amenities.
General Manager of Oakey Beef Exports, Mr Pat Gleeson, said he was very pleased to hear the news, saying Mayor Annie Liston and the South West RED group had put in the “hard yards”.
“I know I have met with a lot of politicians at both state and federal level about rail, since first meeting the South West RED group,” Mr Gleeson said.
“We have taken our passion for freight on rail to the Prime Minister and he has listened,” he said.
“We need access to cattle from the south west for our vision and it is all coming together.
Under the BBRF, the Federal Government will provide almost $500 million – over four years from 2016-17 – to foster economic growth in rural, regional and remote communities.
“Three BBRF projects were successful in Maranoa, securing more than $9.36 million for infrastructure and job-creation in everything from improved aged care at Blackbutt, improving livestock transportation at Morven and a new Regional Cold Store facility in Warwick to overcome processing restraints in the region’s beef supply,” Mr Littleproud said.