RAIL giant Aurizon is attempting to frustrate the use of another set of rail cattle yards, this time Cloncurry.
The publicly listed company has already stopped the use of critical rail yards at Richmond and Julia Creek as well as the Julago spelling yards near Townsville, effectively holding the northern cattle industry to ransom.
AgForce Cattle president Will Wilson said it was illogical the rail company that had been awarded the cattle train contract (Aurizon competitor Watco East West) was unable to use purpose built rail yards.
"Regardless of negotiations between Aurizon and Watco, the Queensland Government needs to step in and fix the problem and get those yards linked to cattle train contract," Mr Wilson said.
"Cattle need to be transported as economically and time efficiently as possible.
"Animal welfare is at risk and that is the number one concern of cattle producers, who will need to move hundreds of thousands of cattle this season.
"I would hope common decency would allow the immediately use of the yards while the Queensland Government steps in and sorts out the mess."
LNP North Queensland Senator Susan McDonald said Aurizon should end its bullying behaviour, unlock the yards, and negotiate in good faith.
"Aurizon showed little appetite for growing its cattle train business and lost the contract," Senator McDonald said.
"This corporate bully has now shown it is not interested in being part of North Queensland by refusing to support graziers, their families and their communities."
The issue would be referred to competition watchdog ACCC, she said.
Cloncurry Mayor Greg Campbell said regardless of Aurizon's actions, cattle trains would continue to be loaded out of Cloncurry.
"Even it that means a work around, we will make sure cattle trains continue to operate out of Cloncurry," Cr Campbell said.
McKinlay Mayor Philip Curr said the Julia Creek rail yards remained padlocked, preventing cattle from being loaded on trains.
"We have to come up with a solution," Cr Curr said.
"It may sound ludicrous, but if we have to, we will build a new set of yards."
Comment was sought from Aurizon.
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