The Palaszczuk Labor Government’s decision to use Chinese-made cattle crates on regional Queensland rail services has been shunted following a raft of poor build and safety issues.
LNP Member for Gregory Lachlan Millar, whose vast electorate relies on regular autumn and winter cattle train services to get stock to abattoirs, said the decision to scrap hundreds of ‘K’ wagons for rail haulage of cattle was a debacle with as many as 350 wagons with the Chinese-made crates sitting idle on tracks in Emerald.
“You couldn’t write a bigger stuff-up,” Mr Millar said.
“Labor are focused only on South East Queensland’s rail fail but this is an almighty stuff-up and I’m calling on Premier Palaszczuk and Deputy Premier Jackie Trad to sort this out.
“They need to explain why hundreds of well-made, local-built ‘K’ wagons were replaced with dodgy, Chinese-made crates which would be flat out holding poddy calves, let alone full-weight bullocks.”
Mr Millar said the Chinese crates had been falling apart along the tracks with gates falling off and dangerously swinging open along Brisbane train station commuter platforms, most recently Coorparoo.
“The Premier talks about buying local yet her Government blew up to $13 million on these crates that have proved to be poorly-made, lightweight and simply dangerous.”
Mr Millar said with so many reports of gates and doors falling off, bolts missing and pins falling out, the wagons had been under a “safety pause” for months.
“Expect to hear excuses about the older ‘K’ wagons being past their working-life, but that’s rubbish,” he said.
“I’m told all these (Chinese) wagons sitting at Emerald are going to be sent to the Stuart rail yards in Townsville for cleaning before being hauled to Brisbane for repairs, at what cost to taxpayers?
“In the meantime, we need to hear from the Premier and Jackie Trad if any of the ‘K’ wagons have survived and can be brought back into service before the start of next season.”