Western Australia Minister for Transport Simon O’Brien
$80 Million Boost For Grain Network
Victor P Taffa
The State Government has announced more than $80 Million will be invested in the State’s grain freight network while it continues to develop a long-term business case to address deficiencies in the network.
Transport Minister Simon O’Brien said the State Government’s $50 Million contribution, more than matched the Commonwealth’s commitment of $30 Million as outlined in the Federal Budget and would provide for important initial works on the network.
“This investment package will underwrite the first stage of a project to upgrade the State’s network of rail lines and roads used to transport grain from Wheatbelt farms to ports at Geraldton, Kwinana, Albany and Esperance.” Mr. O’Brien said.
“No rail lines in the grain freight network would close in the 2010-11 financial year.”
The Minister said the State Government recognised that in the future some non-economic rail lines would need to be put into care and maintenance if the industry did not to use rail as the preferred mode of grain transport.
“If the grain industry continues to use the network, then lines will not close.” Mr. O’Brien said.
“The Government is committed to keeping grain on rail, but the real onus is on farmers and bulk handlers who currently use road transport to put their grain back on rail.”