Inland Rail land acquisitions will be in Queensland
THE woman in charge of the $235 million rail transfer station on the outskirts of Toowoomba says the Federal Government's $594 million commitment to the Melbourne to Brisbane inland rail project shows the Federal Government is serious about the project.
Michelle Reynolds is the chief executive officer of InterLinkSQ, which aims to be the major consolidation point for freight which will be sent on rail to the Port of Brisbane.
It will be a one-stop shop for produce destined for export and will eventually allow the process of goods through customs.
InterLinkSQ is hoping to capitalise on the Inland Rail project, which Ms Reynolds said would be the backbone of freight.
"Interlink SQ will be critical access point and give our regional producers' access to the international market and make it much more competitive," she said.
The Federal Government funding is going towards land acquisitions and environmental studies and Ms Reynolds said much of the land could be purchased in Queensland.
"The biggest parts of the new rail sections to be built are in Queensland," she said.
"One could assume that a lot of acquisition has to happen in Queensland as about 65% of inland rail is in Queensland.
"This state stands to benefit the most from it so we need to get behind the project."
The project will employ about 800 people in construction and 600 once operations begin.
In the Toowoomba region both Toowoomba Regional Council and Interlink SQ estimate 1500 jobs could be created.
Ms Reynolds said the flow on effect would create more than 10,000 jobs.
She said the area, a bastion of agricultural production should focus on its strengths but also look to get "smarter".
"We have to make sure we aren't left behind."
Funding the $10 billion project
Although promising, Ms Reynolds said the government's $594 million contribution would not pay for the $10 billion project.
She's hoping the project will become an election issues.
Although it has attracted bipartisan support, the funding model favoured by the two major parties may differ.
The Federal Government has now committed nearly $900 million in total towards the project which Ms Reynolds said needed to be followed up on.