State Govt gone off the rails: MP

Member for Gregory Vaughan Johnson.
Member for Gregory Vaughan Johnson.

THE State Government would be “acting as the worst of environmental vandals” if it failed to step up and identify a single rail corridor for coal to be moved from the Galilee Basin to the coast, according to Member for Gregory Vaughan Johnson.

Mr Johnson pointed to the answer to a Question on Notice the LNP received from the Bligh Government as indicating the government was intending to sit by while three separate coal developments in the Galilee Basin built three separate rail corridors across more than 100 properties in some of Central Queensland’s best beef producing country.

“Some unlucky landholders will have more than one rail corridor crossing their country as close as 10km apart,” Mr Johnson said.

“At least 5km will cross floodplain and require a four-metre levee. Obviously that will force floodwaters elsewhere.

“Why repeat this consequence three times?”

Mr Johnson said most governments around the world understood their role to be one of co-ordinating competing private interests to obtain the best possible outcome for the community.

“This government doesn’t even seem to want to make an attempt. A single rail corridor could accommodate multiple lines in a way that allowed more efficient use of the infrastructure and minimised the noise, dust and engineering impact on a beautiful and productive part of Queensland,” said Mr Johnson.

“Going on the government’s track record, it thinks it can shrug off its responsibilities.

“Then at the last minute when it realises it has outraged multiple groups of voters, it will jump in with a poorly thought-through, short-term solution which it will inflict on everyone from a great height. It is not fair to the community and it is not fair to proponents of the Galilee mega-mines to encourage them to develop separate transport plans which run a good chance of being junked at the last minute when the government is forced, by a tide of public opinion, to do its job.

“In the meantime, everyone will have wasted time, money and emotion on something that should not even be an issue.”

Mr Johnson said he couldn’t understand why the State Co-ordinator General’s Department seemed to be given little influence over these matters.

“It seems to me this matter fits their job description perfectly. We have knowledgeable, expert public servants who seem, time and again, to be mysteriously prevented from doing their jobs. It is just not good enough and the consequences of government by last minute panic are costing Queenslanders dearly,” he said.

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