THE Mount Isa railway line will receive $25 million for upgrades from the Queensland Government.
Three cabinet ministers made the announcement on Friday saying the investment will support 75 regional jobs.
Transport Minister Stirling Hinchliffe said the money would go towards replacing steel sleepers with concrete.
But with the funding announcement the treasurer, Curtis Pitt, challenged the Federal Government into doing more for the development of Northern Australian than just talking about it.
“What we need to see now is the Federal Government step up to its responsibility and finally show some leadership in the north,” Mr Pitt said.
Minister of North Queensland Coralee O’Rourke said 41 kilometres of sleeper replacements works will begin in May between Richmond and Julia Creek. Work should be completed by 2017, she said.
Cloncurry’s acting mayor Jane McMillan said it was not enough money for such an important railway line.
“We hope this (funding) continues and the support for the big industries, agriculture and resources, in the Cloncurry Shire trying to do business is recognised.
“Cloncurry Shire is home to Queensland’s beef industry and resources industry. They need infrastructure to do business, otherwise our future is at risk,” she said.
State Member for Mount Isa Rob Katter said the funding announcement was “great news”.
“It’s what we’ve been calling for...we’re very pleased and thankful to the treasurer and the transport minister for this money, finally there has been some delivery and outcomes on this.”
Mr Katter said the replacement of the sleepers will mean trains can run faster on the railway line.
“The facts are those trains have been running progressively slower due to diminished quality of the line, and the sleepers are part of that.
“Replacing that with concreting upgrading means trains can run faster and we can fit more on there.”
Mr Katter said the treasurer was right about the federal government needing to do more for northern development.
“We still could benefit from passing loops so trains can pass each other,” Mr Katter said.