Farmers demand answers on cattle rail indecision

Farmers demand decision from Queensland Government and QR on rail services for cattle

Farmers have demanded the State Government and Queensland Rail (QR) reach a decision on rail services for cattle, saying the industry is "frustrated" at the indecision.

AgForce cattle spokesman Peter Hall says there have been commitments from both previous Transport Minister John Mickel as well as his successor Rachel Nolan regarding the continuation of cattle rail services, but still no result.

"Following on from these ministerial meetings [with Mickel and Nolan] we have actively participated in two meetings pursuing an integrated transport strategy for agriculture produce but are becoming increasingly frustrated about the lack of progress," Halls says.

AgForce says a potential pull-out of the cattle business by QR is "simply not an option" and that it will continue to do what it can to make sure this does not happen.

There will be a meeting of all industry sectors including producers, agents, truck drivers, processors, local governments and customers on August 4 in an attempt to pave a way forward for cattle on rail in the State.

One major issue to be dealt with at the meeting will be QR’s current business model, which according to AgForce is unacceptable and needs to be improved due to the uniqueness of the cattle industry.

"One of the difficulties [of the plan] is the seasonal nature of cattle movements because they cannot be stockpiled in the same way that grain and coal can be," Hall says.

"The Queensland Government and QR underwrite the urban network as a community service obligation and we believe the regional cattle network should be retained for similar reasons."

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