by Martin Volz
A FREIGHT subsidy D-Day is fast approaching in south-west Queensland.
By June 30, the State Government will finish its "transition-out” to providing financial support to the Regional Freight Transport Services Contract and the Livestock Transport Services Contract.
Freight expenditures have increased by 20% since January.
Member for Warrego Ann Leahy said she first saw freight prices increase in September last year.
"Everything you have out here comes by freight,” Ms Leahy said.
The State Government's phasing out of the subsidies will affect every south-west Queensland household and business.
"If you are a business it will mean an approximate 100% increase on freight costs,” Ms Leahy said.
"The problem is if the freight costs more than the price of a tyre, you will look to buy elsewhere - this then puts the economy into a spiral dive.”
Ms Leahy addressed the South West Regional Economic Development committee in Charleville last Monday, talking about how the transition will affect the region.
The two freight services served lines throughout Queensland - no matter the commercial success of the region.
"The State Government can continue this subsidy by not pushing it to areas with existing competition and services,” Ms Leahy said.
Balonne Shire Deputy Mayor Fiona Gaske said the increase in freight costs is an issue all regional councils need to stand united in fighting against.
"It is an issue that is already effecting a number of rural councils,” Cr Gaske said.
"We in the Balonne Shire are standing united with our fellow councils in acknowledging that this phasing out subsidy is and will continue to have devastating effects on communities out west.”
She said that come June 30, the Balonne Shire will begin to how the changes will effect the economy.
SWRED has written to the State Transport Minister about how the transition will affect all south-west Queenslanders.