Aurizon abandons application for Galilee Basin rail funding

Rail operator Aurizon will withdraw an application to the Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility (NAIF) for funding to assist with a rail development in the Galilee Basin in Queensland.

Aurizon has been a proponent of a rail project to support the Galilee Basin’s resources operations for many years.

The company submitted its latest proposal for a new rail line to NAIF in March last year, a move that saw it bidding for government funding alongside Adani’s Carmichael coal mine infrastructure plan.

However, it now looks as though there will be no imminent funding for either company following Aurizon’s decision to withdraw, which the company explained was due to it being unable to secure customer contacts.

Adani’s hopes for funding were recently dismissed by federal and state politicians that oppose the Indian company’s proposal.

Aurizon managing director and chief executive Andrew Harding said the rail operator would continue to support the development of the Galilee Basin despite it withdrawing the application.

He indicated the company may reapply for NAIF funding to develop the rail if market conditions changed.

“When developed it has the potential to provide a major boost to the national economy and create thousands of jobs in regional Queensland,” Harding said.

“We believe Aurizon can play a key role in helping facilitate a multi-user, open access rail solution for the various new mines in the region.

“However, while we are in ongoing discussions with several Galilee Basin mine proponents we have not yet progressed to definitive contractual arrangements with any proponent.”

Harding said the NAIF application was, in part, predicated on having customer contracts secured.

“Given this is unlikely to occur in the near future we believe it is prudent to withdraw the NAIF application,” Harding added.

“If market circumstances change and our discussions with potential customers progress to commercial arrangements we will look at all possible financing arrangements to develop the rail solution.”

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