Queensland Treasurer Andrew Fraser has confirmed that the government was committed to building the State’s Northern Missing Link project.
“We are proceeding with the Northern Missing Link project, including the doubling of Abbot Point Coal Terminal,” he said.
Current contracts with coal companies expired on 17 February, 2009.
”We have offered (through Ports Corporation of Queensland) to extend the contracts for another three months, with a further three month extension beyond that (i.e. to June) as we seek to provide every opportunity to the coal companies to commit to the timing and scope of the project,” Fraser said.
”The coal companies have come to the government (through QR and Ports Corporation) saying that they now have very different tonnage profiles for the coming years.
”The downturn in the resources sector is massively reshaping the sort of volumes the coal companies believe they will need.
”Whereas we previously faced infrastructure bottlenecks, there is now going to be 30 million tonnes of spare capacity on the network this financial year.”
Fraser said that coal tonnage forecast for the first two years of the project was 90% lower than what was originally requested.
”We are committed to building the link, the volume it carries will be determined by what capacity the coal companies believe they want,” he said.
”In short, we will build what they want when they decide they want it.”
Fraser said that no QR employee would lose their job.
”The alliances with the construction companies for the project remain in place,” he said.
”The early works project is nearing completion.”