Ken O'Dowd makes a speech at the Gladstone Australia Day Ceremony. January 25, 2017
Ken O'Dowd makes a speech at the Gladstone Australia Day Ceremony. January 25, 2017 Paul Braven GLA300117KEN

Why the inland rail may never make it to Bundaberg

HINKLER MP Keith Pitt is pushing for an inland railway line connecting the Port of Bundaberg to Brisbane and Melbourne but our region will face strong competition for funding.

The government announced the program in Tuesday's Budget, which aims to fund rail projects improving regional rail services with a $10 billion pool of funds available.

But Gladstone is seemingly one step ahead of us as Member for Flynn Ken O'Dowd said a $250,000 feasibility study was already being undertaken to examine the business case for extending the line to Gladstone.

"The inland rail (proposal) has been around for a long time but I've been pushing for it to continue through to Gladstone," Mr O'Dowd said.

"That feasibility study is well underway, and that should be out pretty soon."

The proposal from Mr Pitt was received warmly in some quarters and ridiculed in others.

Bundaberg Mayor Jack Dempsey said the development would "be a significant economic building block for the Wide Bay region," he said.

Bundaberg MP Leanne Donaldson was less receptive.

"The suggestion that Bundaberg Port could connect to the inland rail is also a pipe dream with the Melbourne to Toowoomba portion not even forecast to be complete until 2025," she said.

On the NewsMail's Facebook page there was a mixed reaction.

"Sounds like a great idea," Shaun Kirkwood said.

"Gladstone up the road is all set up for the export/import container market and it would be far less costly to expand its use if there is a proven need," wrote Kalie Adamston.



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