by Sarah Dionysius
MORVEN is on track for a new rail and freight hub after securing over $4 million in funding for the project.
Regional Development Minister Fiona Nash alongside Maranoa MP David Littleproud announced on Monday the Morven Rail Hub project was successful in its funding application under the Federal Government's Building Better Regions Fund.
South West Egional Economic Development chair Lindsay Godfrey welcomed the news and said the project would ensure renewed economic activity in the region.
"This is a significant announcement and one we collectively advocated for,” Cr Godfrey said.
"Our regional push to utilise more cattle on trains, access to affordable freight and competent supply chains is dependent on this infrastructure.”
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,” he said.
Cr Godfrey said South West RED had worked 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 signifi- cant 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.
Oakey Beef Exports general manager Pat Gleeson, said he was
very pleased to hear the news, saying Mayor Annie Liston and the South West RED group 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
Mr Littleproud said the $4,181,157 funding to create the new freight hub would make it easier to transport livestock from western Queensland for processing in the Darling Downs.
"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,” he said.