Qld rail corridors could see landowners forced to sell
07/06/2012 - Landholders could be forced to sell their land for two new rail corridors for the mining industry in a plan which aims to cut down on proposed rail lines through central Queensland. Kym Agius
Eight proponents - including Gina Rinehart's Hancock Coal, Clive Palmer's Waratah Coal and freight rail company QR National - were proposing to build rail lines out of the Bowen Basin and the Galilee Basin, which is set to become the state's next big booming coal region.
Deputy Premier Jeff Seeney said if all went ahead, central Queensland would look like "a twisted mess of lines on a map".
Efforts to have all proponents undertake a commercial negotiation to agree on one corridor didn't work, Seeney said.
To end the stalemate, he announced on Wednesday that only two rail corridors will go ahead, one running east-west and the other north-south.
Seeney said the corridors would be declared State Development Areas, which would give powers for compulsory land acquisition.
Landholders could be forced to sell their land, as a last resort, if negotiations between rail proponents failed.
The east-west corridor will connect the Galilee Basin to Moranbah, which will allow coal to then be taken then on QR National's existing network to ports at Abbot Point, Dalrymple Bay and Dudgeon Point.
That corridor was proposed by both QR National and Adani.
The north-south rail corridor follows the GVK-Hancock Coal railway proposal, which was approved by Queensland's coordinator last week.
The 500km line will take coal from the southern Galilee Basin to Abbot Point.
Seeney said that the other miners who had wanted to build their railways would not miss out.
They'd be able to enter into third party deals to use tracks, or would be able to build their own lines within the corridors.
"No proponent will be disadvantaged," he said in a statement.
Miners could still try and push through with their rail lines outside of the proposed corridors but they won't be backed up by compulsory acquisition powers.
QR National's chief executive Lance Hockridge said the announcement was a sensible, staged approach to expansion which would better match capacity to demand and minimise impact on the environment and regional communities.
Queensland Resources Council chief executive Michael Roche said the corridors would be workable for all companies planning to develop in the basins and address community concerns about multiple railway lines criss-crossing the country.
A spokesman for Waratah Coal said the company was examining the announcement.
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