Resident: $4.1m Yeppoon rail line is way off track
ROBERT Lang doesn't see why $4.1 million would be spent to upgrade the Yeppoon rail line.
Last week, Main Roads and Road Safety Minister Mark Bailey announced the big spend during a visit at the JBS abattoir in Nerimbera.
Mr Bailey said the move was aimed to provide greater efficiencies at the meatworks.
Mr Lang lives on a neighbouring property, which has belonged to his family since 1918.
He has done a lot of work for the Teys meatworks at Lakes Creek and is "very familiar with the way cattle supply operates and the management of those cattle...how they come in and out".
"They've contracted for X number of trains to come to these big plants, JBS, Oakey and Lakes Creek and the mind boggles about why they'd want to spend $4.1 million upgrading a line that is really not going to get used," Mr Lang said.
He said the money would have been better spent to "give local young people some training gear to get them to work in those processing facilities".
He said for some years, 95% of the cattle that came to the JBS abattoir had come by truck rather than by rail.
"As time has gone on, the movement of cattle by train has become less and less...consequently, so has the rail line and the infrastructure there (the rail yard)," he said.
Mr Lang said the JBS abattoir did not have cattle on the rail line for up to five years.
"I do know that one year there they got two wagon loads of cattle in, the years before and after they had one," he said.
He said it would cost taxpayers "an absolute fortune" to sustain and maintain the infrastructure.
Mr Lang said very few meatworks used trains to transport cattle.
"The infrastructure here at JBS they used to unload the cattle on is derelict...you couldn't unload a goat there," he said.
Mr Lang said on Emu Park Rd, there was a red light protected intersection with the rail line.
"It was costing the Queensland Government $33,000 a year to maintain it and it wasn't being used...they removed it," he said.
"It's necessary to have that in place to shut these cattle trains across it."
A spokesman for the Minister for Transport, Jackie Trad, responded to Mr Lang's comments.
"The rail line in question has been dormant since 2012...the Palaszczuk government's revitalisation of the line will allow for the delivery of cattle by rail once again," the spokesman said.
"We are supporting the beef industry in Rockhampton and want to strengthen supply chains by getting as many cattle trucks off the road and back onto rail.
"This investment is a critical step towards that goal."