Federal Labor says it would invest $100 million to upgrade the Mount Isa to Townsville rail line if voted into government though Robbie Katter said that will not solve the line's high charges issues.
The leader of the Opposition Bill Shorten said Wednesday the line did not have resilience to cater for the projected increase in demand for rail haulage from mines in the Mount Isa region to the Port of Townsville.
"Labor will deliver strategic upgrades to the line and support the ongoing exploration and development of the North West Minerals Province, providing economic opportunities for many decades to come," Mr Shorten said.
"There is potential in the province to access rare earth minerals which are used in mobile phones, fuel cells, superconducting magnets and electric vehicle batteries.
"Labor's focus on upgrading the western section of the line will improve the line's capacity and better protect it from severe weather events like floods."
However state member for Traeger Robbie Katter said the promise of new funding to fix the line missed the point.
"The issue isn't trying to make the trains go faster, the issue is trying to bring the price down - throwing money at the track isn't going to fix anything," Mr Katter
"There's a million tonnes on the road that used to be on the rail because of the price."
Mr Katter said Labor needed to talk to stakeholders to find out why they put freight on the road instead of the rail.
"They'll say it's a problem with the pricing and the way the business is run," he said.
"There's a long paper trail, there's contracts where they lock in small mines for ten years at a prohibitive price."
Mr Katter said the Queensland Competition Authority guidelines for the industry were "flawed" and needed to be fixed by the government.
The railway to Mount Isa has been closed since February's floods but is expected to fully re-open April 29.