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Freight prices set to surge in south-west

PRICE HIKE: The state government's phasing out of freight subsidies will affect every household and business.
PRICE HIKE: The state government's phasing out of freight subsidies will affect every household and business. Contributed

A FREIGHT subsidy D-Day is fast approaching in south-west Queensland.

By June 30 the State Government will finish its "transition-out” to providing financial support to regional freight transport services.

Freight expenditures have increased 20% since

January.

Judey Aiken, who has been running Judey's Browse Inn for 34 years said she had always used the train for transporting her shop's freight to Charleville in an attempt to keep rail jobs in the community.

"I have never passed freight charges onto my customers but I'm going to have to start thinking about it now," she said.

"In the last few years freight has doubled and streuth, it's rotten. It's just disgraceful."

Member for Warrego Ann Leahy said she first saw freight prices increase in September last year.

"Everything you have out here comes by freight,” Ms Leahy said.

The State Government's phasing out of the subsidies will affect every south-west Queensland household and business.

According to Aurizon, operator of the livestock and regional freight transport contracts, pricing for the regional road freight services will be transitioned in stages from below market rates to commercial pricing by July.

"If you are a business it will mean an approximate 100% increase on freight costs,” Ms Leahy said.

"The problem is if the freight costs more than the price of a tyre, you will look to buy elsewhere.

"This puts the economy into a spiral dive.”

Ms Leahy addressed the South West Regional Economic Development (SWRED) committee at the Mulga Country Motor Inn last Monday, creating awareness about how the transition will affect the region. The two freight services served lines throughout Queensland - no matter the commercial success of the region. The successful re-opening of the cattle train - a SWRED win - is now challenged by the funding transition.

"SWRED did great work to get the cattle train up and running again and now it will get hit with extra freight costs,” Ms Leahy said.

SWRED has written to the State Transport Minister about how the transition will affect the south-west.


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