A Morven Freight Precinct is one step closer, following a successful meeting between western mayors and the Prime Minister, Hon Malcolm Turnbull in Canberra last Friday.
South West RED Board Chair and Mayor of Paroo, Cr Lindsay Godfrey, was joined by Murweh Mayor Annie Liston, Pat Gleeson from Oakey Beef Exports and the Federal Member for Maranoa, Mr David Littleproud.
Cr Godfrey said the vision of a freight hub in Morven is one the whole region is behind following a commitment from the Queensland Government to upgrade railway sidings earlier this year.
“Freight movement and rail infrastructure are vital for the South West and needs ongoing bi-partisan support from all levels of government,” Cr Godfrey said.
“The Prime Minister seemed genuinely interested, particularly as he knows Oakey Beef Exports are a long-established company who supports industry growth. It was not a rushed meeting, we were in the private sitting room and we had plenty of time to raise issues, from road funding to aged care but our main focus was the western rail line.”
The delegation also met with other politicians and staffers whilst in Canberra, including the Office of the Infrastructure Minister, Darren Chester, MP.
“Minister Chester is fast becoming recognized as a personable and fair politician and we look forward to working with him, going forward,” Cr Godfrey said.
The Murweh Shire Council will now lead an application to the federal government for funding for the rail hub early next year.
Cr Godfrey said last week’s meeting was made possible due to ongoing support from Queensland Senator, James McGrath.
“Senator McGrath is well known to the South West and has visited the proposed site at Morven and understands the importance of the beef supply chain,” Cr Godfrey said.
“The Senator helped us secure a meeting with the Prime Minister where we were able to raise this issue, and other important issues for our area,” he said.
Oakey Beef Exports’ Pat Gleeson said Senator McGrath had a good grasp of the importance of the red meat supply chain, especially to communities in regional Queensland.
“We will not be the proponents of any applications to the government as we are working on our own expansion developments, however, we will continue to play a supporting role and add value and support to any application to improve cattle freight transportation on the western line.”