The Wheatbelt rail network is vital to the state and national agricultural industry. It allows for the movement of approximately 42% of Australia’s grain exports in a manner that is quick, efficient and at a resonable cost to farmers. It also protects the rural and urban community road network and road users.
From Geraldton, to Southern Cross, to Perth and down to Albany and Esperance, the Wheatbelt rail network has been critical for the state and nation’s economy.
At present, 93% of all grain transported in the Wheatbelt is moved by rail.
The map on the above shows the grain rail network in Western Australia. To expand on the map, simply click on it.
Currently there is 5,100km of rail network in the south west land division of WA of which just under half is used for grain transport (farm to port).
2,300km of rail network is in urgent need of repair to support our state’s $6 billion grain export industry.
In 2010 the State Government announced it would close tier 3 rail lines that were deemed uneconomic by the Strategic Grain Network Report.
Since then the Wheatbelt Railway Retention Alliance has intensified its effort to see tier 3 railway lines in grain growing areas of WA remain open.
The State Government needs to allocate funding of at least $90m to upgrade of Tier 3 Railway and for long term investment in its State Railway Asset and in the State Agricultural Industry.
Private Investment Group CBH/Watco have invested $178m of Industry funds to provide modern and efficient Locomotives and Rolling Stock to keep grain on rail and not on roads – there is demonstrated and substantial investment by the Watco Group yet the Government appears reluctant to match this contribution for Tier 3 Railway Network upgrades and continued operation.
The same investment principle adopted by State Government for Upgrading of Tier 1 and Tier 2 Railway to make them more efficient is exactly the same for long term investment in Tier 3 Railway to achieve forward efficiency outcomes.
Why should we invest in rail transport?
- Safer for Road Users
- Safer for our Community
- Efficient in terms of least cost pathway – road is more costly
- Environmentally advantageous
- 90-95% of Wheatbelt Grain transported on Rail
- Less obtrusive with reduced Traffic Congestion in Metropolitan areas
- Cheaper than road transport as our roads are substandard in design and use for today’s traffic needs.
Rail Transport of Grain is cheaper than Road Transport – why hasn’t the latest research information been taken up and adopted by Government?
Road Infrastructure is substandard and is in need of a large amount of investment. To endorse the State Road Safety principles of “Towards Zero” road safety campaign the State Government needs to reduce our Road related injury and fatality rate and the associated road trauma by investing in rail for long term gains.
“Towards Zero Road Safety Strategy 2008-2020”
Towards Zero is Western Australia’s 12 year road safety strategy that aims to design and build a road transport system that will protect road users and prevent crashes that result in death and serious injury.
“Local Government Safe System Project”
One of the major key findings in a recent survey states: 100% respondents agreed that road safety was an issue of concern in their local community with 98% agreeing that it is an issue of concern for their local government.