FLASHBACK: Cr Kathy Duff, Gladstone Cr Desley O’Grady, Mike Goebel, Deb Dennien and former South Burnett Mayor Keith Campbell chatted at a public meeting in Proston in January 2019 which called on the Council to apply for funding to carry out a feasibility study into a Proston-Murgon rail trail

December 16, 2020

South Burnett Regional Council plans to seek Federal Government funding to build the Proston-Hivesville Rail Trail and upgrade the Coolabunia Saleyards.

At Council’s meeting on Wednesday, Councillors were told guidelines for Round 5 of the Building Better Regions Fund had been released that morning.

Applications will open on January 12 and close on March 5.

Mayor Brett Otto told the meeting Council had a list of 13 potential projects it would like to seek funding for, ranging from a Mental Health Community Hub to a Tertiary Learning Centre.

However, only two of the projects could be described as “shovel-ready”: the Proston-Hivesville Rail Trail and upgrades to the Coolabunia Saleyards.

Under the terms of the BBRF, Council would need to contribute 50 per cent of each project’s funding with the Federal Government making up the balance.

Councillors voted 5-2 to submit both projects to the next round of Building Better Regions, with Crs Gavin Jones and Scott Henschen opposed.

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Proston-Hivesville Rail Trail

In 2019, Council commissioned Mike Halliburton Associates – the company which carried out the initial feasibility study into the South Burnett Rail Trail – to examine the feasibility of a rail trail between Murgon and Proston.

The cost of the $48,000 study was paid by the Department of Transport and Main Roads, and the final report was delivered in January this year.

Mr Haliburton found a rail trail along the full length of the Murgon-Proston railway spur line was not viable because cotton growers near Byee now used parts of the former rail corridor to grow their crops.

However, the report found a shorter, 14km unsealed trail between Proston and Hivesville was viable and could bring significant benefits to both towns.

The report estimated a Proston-Hivesville Rail Trail would cost $2.2 million to build and $20,000 a year to maintain.

Against this, it would inject about $786,000 a year into the economy of the two towns and produce flow-on benefits to the South Burnett Rail Trail and Lake Boondooma.

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Coolabunia Saleyards

Council recently decided to retain them in public ownership and had previously carried out a number of studies to determine what upgrades were necessary to streamline and modernise the facility.

The saleyards are a major contributor to the region’s economy and an important facility for smaller cattle producers.

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3 Responses to "Grants Sought For Rail Trail, Saleyards"

  1. Aussie Land & Livestock  December 17, 2020

    Aussie Land & Livestock have been the major stakeholder operating the Coolabunia Saleyards for the past 15+ yrs.

    Aussie Land & Livestock wholeheartedly agree that the Saleyards need reinvigorating.

    We stand ready to assist Council with our insight and acumen for the benefit of all the Coolabunia Saleyards users. Among the many business and agricultural challenges that we face in present times, our industry can’t afford to be idle.

    Aussie Land & Livestock believe a government role is to ensure the market is not held up by bureaucracy but rather, the community is leveraged to get the best outcome equally for the market and community.

    Reply
  2. Interested Party  December 17, 2020

    Were any explanations given by the councillors opposed to seeking further funding for the yards? As SBRC voted 5-0 to retain ownership of the Coolabunia Yards and committed to a 5 year plan for improvements to infrastructure after rejecting all tenders recently. Where is this money going to come from?

    Reply
  3. News Desk  December 17, 2020

    No – Councillors who voted against the two projects gave no reason for their vote. Re money, BBRF would contribute 50 per cent of the cost and the balance would come from Council’s funds, likely in the 2021-22 financial year if one or both applications are successful.

    Reply

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