LET’S TALK: Shane Charles and John Wagner discuss transport and logistics issues for the region at the Toowoomba forum.
LET’S TALK: Shane Charles and John Wagner discuss transport and logistics issues for the region at the Toowoomba forum. Derek Barry

Crucial transport corridor for south-west Queensland

THE looming Toowoomba Second Range Crossing and Inland Rail, allied to Wellcamp airport, will turn the Surat Basin region into a "corridor of opportunity" in the coming decades, a transport and logistics forum heard last week.

Parkes (New South Wales) mayor and Inland Rail lobby group chief Ken Keith told the Toowoomba Transport and Logistics Forum the Inland Rail project was coming in the next decade and had the potential to transform the region as well as being a nation-building project.

Mr Keith said the Federal Government had committed $300 million to the Melbourne-Brisbane rail project and the line would be future-proofed to enable the movement of 1.8km-long trains with an axle loading of 21 tonnes at maximum speed of 110kmh.

"One train would take 110 trucks off the road," Mr Keith said.

The Inland Rail is expected to link up with the western line at Oakey and will dovetail with $60m of upgrades to the Warrego Hwy and the Toowoomba Second Range Crossing, to be built by 2019.

Queensland Treasury project director Damian Gould said the Second Range Crossing would generate $2.4 billion economic activity for the region in 30 years.

Mr Gould said he expected the winning bid team Nexus to start work in the next couple of months once the paperwork was signed.

Meanwhile Wagners boss John Wagner told the forum Wellcamp airport has now received international designation from the Federal Government which will allow it to start freight services bringing agricultural produce from south-west Queensland direct to markets throughout Asia.

Mr Wagner said another advantage was no curfew at the airport.


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