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February 2019


After enduring months of searing heat and lack of rain, communities and residents across the MITEZ corridor had been watching weather forecasts and the BOM radar hoping to see signs of a monsoon developing in the north, at the same time praying for a long overdue wet season to arrive.

After weeks of delivering huge rainfall along the North Queensland coast, by Friday February 1 the long-awaited monsoon had spread across much of the northern inland and had begun dropping significant rainfall. Major roads began to close, the Landsborough Highway was cut at McKinlay then the Flinders Highway between Julia Creek and Cloncurry and Richmond; as well as numerous minor roads soon impassable. Rail operations have now also been suspended as the line is cut in various places.

The upside is, that unlike communities such as Townsville, the rain in the west has fallen at a much steadier rate causing very little damage to infrastructure such as homes and businesses and at the same time has provided drought breaking levels in many places, filling dams and water storages and setting the scene for a great season for 2019.

This has come at a time when properties and graziers who had been hand feeding stock were experiencing their most desperate times and the possibility of worse to come.

Fortunately, it’s now looking like a much brighter year ahead for inland communities as the rain that has fallen will restore soil moisture and bring on plenty of new grass.

For our friends on the coast, as of Monday, February 4, the extent of the damage caused by the monsoonal flooding is not yet clear but it is hoped that it will not be as serious as was first anticipated.

Hughenden to host next MITEZ meeting in March

MITEZ members are notified that the first General Meeting for 2019 will be held at Hughenden on Thursday March 21 and Friday, March 22 at the Diggers Entertainment Centre.

This will provide an opportunity to inspect a number of key projects around Hughenden such as the Kennedy wind, solar and battery project; Fifteen Mile Ag Precinct; Hughenden’s new recreation lake and the old power station.

The tour of sites will take place on Thursday 21st at 2pm followed by an evening networking function.

A representative from the HIPCO Alstonvale Dam project will brief attendees at the meeting of the status and potential funding of the project.

Projects Submitted for RAB Funding 

In late 2018, the Department of State Development released the guidelines for the 2019 Remote Area Board funding assistance program which is referred to as RAB project funding.

With a closing date for projects proposals 25 January, a quicker process than usual was required. MITEZ submitted three projects for 2019 including; Biomass wood pellet processing; re-development of Hughenden old power station and MITEZ Strategic Planning workshop.

The Biomass project that was presented to members at the August meeting at Julia Creek is to investigate the potential for the region to supply a ‘green fuel’ source to meet export demand for material such as wood pellets that could be made from harvested Prickly Acacia and Sterile Leucaena which could be grown as a crop throughout the region.

As a separate project, University of Queensland are planning to conduct a planting trial in the region at around the same time as the MITEZ project is taking place.

Strategic Planning Workshop planned for MITEZ members

One of the projects that submitted for RAB funding, is to engage a consultant to facilitate a 2 day workshop to develop a 2019-2015 Strategic Plan, identifying future goals and direction and defining the role of MITEZ, The document will also identify how to best meet member’s expectations and compile and prioritise a list of future potential RAB projects for the region.

A similar workshop was conducted in 2005 and the company who was engaged to facilitate that workshop has been invited to provide a proposal to MITEZ for a follow up.

Linfox invited to attend next MITEZ meeting

Linfox is now operating on the Isa corridor after the long-planned handover took place Friday, February 1 with Linfox saying they were now “offering a new and compelling logistics option for businesses operating in Far North Queensland”. 

Linfox’s expansion of its intermodal operation in Queensland follows the acquisition of Aurizon’s QIB, including Aurizon employees, freight forwarding, pick-up and delivery assets as well as rail wagons.

Linfox Australia CEO Mark Mazurek said they had secured the continued employment of almost 200 former Aurizon employees along with supporting suppliers and businesses.

MITEZ has invited a representative from Linfox to attend our next meeting and to explain the company’s future plans for operating on the corridor.

MITEZ Rep for Aurizon, Tony Lucas farewelled 

In December 2018, Aurizon’s representative, Tony Lucas who has been a regular at the MITEZ table since 2005 was farewelled by his colleagues at Aurizon.

Tony began his attendance to MITEZ meetings as a QR representative prior to the Queensland Government separating their above and below rail assets and the subsequent creation of the privatized company, Aurizon.

After joining QR as a cadet surveyor, Tony had well over 40 year’s combined service with QR and Aurizon and spent a number of years managing stakeholder relations in the North.

An excellent communicator, Tony was a well-known as a rail industry representative and was regularly seen around the region visiting both workers and stakeholders as well as attending industry events.

MITEZ understands Tony is enjoying his retirement and looking forward to some travel in the future.

Sarah Dixon, General Manager Bulk East will be replacing Tony as Aurizon’s representative at MITEZ.
Copyright © 2015 MITEZ INC., All rights reserved.
Our mailing address is:
PO Box 1258
Mount Isa QLD 4825

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MITEZ Inc · 22 West Street · PO Box 1258 · Mount Isa, Queensland 4825 · Australia

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