Project Iron Boomerang is a proposal for a 3,300 kilometre heavy-haul rail line between central Queensland and the Pilbara region of Western Australia, to transport coking coal from Queensland to WA, and iron ore from WA to Queensland. At each end of the rail line, steel park complexes will be built for production of steel for the domestic and international market.
The Citizens Party explained the project in this four-minute YouTube video produced in November 2020: BUILD THE IRON BOOMERANG! Australia must return to nation building, a NATIONAL BANK can fund it
In September 2020 the Citizens Party’s Glen Isherwood interviewed the visionary businessman behind Project Iron Boomerang, Shane Condon, for the Citizens Insight YouTube program: CITIZENS INSIGHT: Project Iron Boomerang - Interview with Shane Condon
One Nation Senator Malcolm Roberts, who on 5 September 2022 moved the motion referring Project Iron Boomerang for an inquiry, outlined the proposal in his Senate speech on the motion:
“Project Iron Boomerang is an exciting and visionary project that can make our country’s north and can make our whole country. Project Iron Boomerang’s main elements are a 3,300-kilometre transcontinental railroad with heavy duty axle capacity connecting existing rail networks in the iron ore region of the Pilbara to the existing rail networks in Central Queensland, on the way linking with the existing Darwin-Adelaide rail line to improve freight movement nationally.
“The essence of this project is that iron ore will be transported from west to east, and those carriages will be then backloaded with coal to transport coal to Western Australia—hence the boomerang name. Steel blast furnaces and steel parks at both ends—in the east in the Bowen Basin of Queensland and in the west in the Pilbara in Western Australia—will, in turn, turn the iron ore and coal into steel slabs for export from Port Hedland in Western Australia and from Abbot Point and the Port of Gladstone and Queensland. Fibre optic, water, power and potentially gas lines can be laid along the rail alignment for additional commercial benefit.
“Project Iron Boomerang will strengthen Australia’s balance of payments. It will lift our gross domestic product, and, with that, lift our whole economy, restoring our national security, restoring opportunity. We have allowed too many industries to be closed and sent overseas. Too many jobs have been exported. It’s time to turn that around.”
Labor Party support
Most significantly, Senator Roberts’ motion for an inquiry was supported by the governing Labor Party. WA Labor Senator Glenn Sterle gave this endorsement:
“I hadn’t heard of Project Iron Boomerang, but I sat down and got a briefing from Senator Roberts. It comes back to when I was a kid growing up. I remember in the great state of New South Wales we used to do all of this sort of stuff. We actually used to make our own steel. We used to have proud steel cities, where there were communities, there were bonds and there were families, before all this ‘fly-in, fly-out’ nonsense took over. It was before the farm was sold—if I can use the terminology of a farm. It breaks my heart to think, as I’m watching my grandchildren grow up, how disgusted they should be with the politicians before us who thought it was a good idea to contract out work we used to do and we did well. …
“So I want to support this. I know the Labor Party and Prime Minister Albanese—the Albanese government—support you, Senator Roberts, for bringing this to us. I think it’s a magnificent thing, and I also think this is what we should be doing. These are the big-ticket items that, when I first came into the Senate, lo and behold, I thought we would be discussing on a daily basis. How tricked I got! But, anyway, at least let’s get back to the big stuff about building a better nation, as I said in my first speech, and leaving it better than how we found it. …
“I want to support this, and we will support this, Senator Roberts. I understand the opposition are, hopefully, getting behind this too, because this is the stuff we need to do. … Let’s try and put these two great industries together: iron ore in my state of WA and coal in your state of Queensland. It just makes too much sense.”
Call for submissions
The inquiry is taking submissions by 20 October 2022. Any individual or organisation with an interest in this project and/or related expertise, including in engineering, economics, business, local government, or union representation, should make a submission relevant to the terms of reference below.
The project known as the Iron Boomerang, with particular reference to:
- the employment likely to result from the project during construction and once completed;
- the effect on Australia’s gross domestic product and balance of payments from this significant change in Australia’s productive capacity;
- capital, energy and resources required to build and operate the proposed 10 steel plants, 5 at Port Headland, Western Australia and 5 in the Bowen Basin, Queensland;
- the feasibility of the proposed clamshell design and electric/diesel propulsion to safely transport iron ore and coal across the 3,000 kilometre route;
- the environmental benefit of the reduction in bulk ore exports in regard to marine pollution and energy consumption;
- any environmental impacts from the proposed alignment;
- any impacts of the rail line or steel parks on the Aboriginal community;
- the relevance of the Iron Boomerang project to our national security; and
- any other related matters.
Please share this release widely to anybody you know who may be interested in making a submission.
Click here to go to the Senate Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport Committee page for Iron Boomerang and for instructions to make a submission.
For more detailed information on Project Iron Boomerang, click here to go to the website of East West Line Parks Pty Ltd.