$52m grain project will create 200 CQ jobs: AgForce
A JOINT proposal between AgForce and GrainCorp announced this week will create more than 200 construction jobs in Central Queensland and will see 20,000 trucks taken off regional roads.
The organisations are calling on the State Government to invest $11 million towards a $52 million project to construct two new state-of-the-art grain handling facilities and upgrade the rail freight network in southern and Central Queensland.
The project would include the construction of a new state-of-the-art grain facility at Yamala which would be the anchor tenant for a planned CQ inland hub.
GrainCorp will fund $18.5 million of the project at Yamala and are seeking a $2.5 million contribution from the Queensland Government.
AgForce Central Queensland regional manager Sharon Howard said the upgraded facilities are "desperately needed".
"Central Queensland growers have watched grain handling infrastructure deteriorate over many years," she said.
"This proposal will allow growers to utilise state-of-the-art rail facilities which means a much more efficient delivery model and substantial cost savings.
"Any reduction in supply chain costs, helps our producers remain competitive in tough international markets. More money for growers means more money for rural and regional Queensland."
AgForce grains president Wayne Newton said even though Queensland recorded a winter crop valued at more than $700million, Queensland's grain growers could fall behind other states and miss out on export opportunities this year, and into the future due to the poor performance of rail freight.
"About 90% of our grain exports used to get to port on train, but now it's only about 50%, despite the fact rail is more efficient with 20 trains enough to load a vessel compared to nearly 1000 truckloads," he said.
"Queensland growers already face higher supply chain costs than growers in other states, and losing grain on rail will not only hurt grain producers, but have flow-on effects for beef, containers and a range of other commodities.
"Queensland can't afford to be left behind. This project would be a game changer for the grains industry in Queensland and we are urging the State Government to get behind it."
GrainCorp Regional Manager for Queensland Brad Foster said the entire project would increase grain on rail to more than 800,000 tonnes per year, underpinning the viability and growth of Queensland's grain industry.
"Hundreds of construction jobs will be created and more than 20,000 trucks will be taken off regional roads as a result of a proposed grains industry project that could secure the viability of the agricultural rail network in Queensland for decades to come."