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The $40 million Stuart freight terminal project shows how private enterprise can do its bit for generating jobs in the city, according to State Development Minister Anthony Lynham.
“Jobs and growth in Townsville will come down to positive investment decisions by local business and industry, as well as government initiatives,” he said.
“Aurizon’s $40 million intermodal freight terminal will generate 120 pay packets at its peak as well as business for local suppliers across the city.
“It’s a welcome sign of positivity on the local economic scene after a tough few weeks.”
Dr Lynham said as part of the project, a signalised intersection at the Stuart Bypass would create direct access for heavy vehicles to the Townsville Port Access Road and the Bruce and Flinders Highway.
“Removing the rail yard from the CBD will also lead to amenity and traffic improvements for the city, reducing noise and traffic delays,” he said.
“The new purpose-designed and built freight terminal takes advantage of the strategic location of the Townsville State Development Area, at the junction of the national road network (Bruce and Flinders Highways) with direct access to Queensland Rail’s North Coast rail line.”
Minister for Transport Stirling Hinchliffe welcomed the project and said the multimodal freight terminal would provide a significant boost for Townsville’s economy.
“Rail has played a large role in Townsville since the North Coast Railway connected the city to Brisbane in 1923, and today more than 13,000 freight trains pass in and out of Townsville each year," Mr Hinchliffe said.
“Through projects like this, we can continue to make rail freight an even more attractive option for producers, and continue to connect the region with both social and economic opportunities across the state.
"The ability for producers and the resources and manufacturing sectors to easily move goods out of Queensland to the point of sale is something that will keep investment and jobs coming into Queensland into the future."
Minister Assisting the Premier on North Queensland Coralee O’Rourke said the project start would come on top of the $187 million Accelerated Works Program for the Townsville area which Premier Annastascia Palaszczuk announced last month.
“The Government’s rapid response team is continuing to work with the administrators of Queensland Nickel and the redundant employees,” Ms O’Rourke said.
“Our focus remains these workers and their families, finding ways to get them new jobs and opportunities in Townsville,” she said.
“We are providing regular information to more than 200 people who have registered with our worker transition service and our one-on-one case managers have had almost 40 contacts from redundant employees and their families.”