Regional

WA Labor pledges $22 million for grain rail upgrades

Posted on February 19, 2021
  • $22 million investment into priority agricultural freight rail projects under a McGowan Labor Government
  • Follows release of the Revitalising Agricultural Region Freight Strategy in 2020
  • Mark McGowan and WA Labor delivering for regional WA

A re-elected McGowan Labor Government will inject $22 million to upgrade priority Tier 1 and 2 freight rail projects to support local farmers and keep WA’s freight network safe.

In 2020 the McGowan Government released the Revitalising Agricultural Region Freight Strategy (RARF) following detailed and wide consultation with industry and community stakeholders and with the public.

The strategy outlines priority projects for agricultural freight infrastructure in key West Australian agricultural regions. It’s release was followed by extensive consultation with Arc Infrastructure and CBH Group on immediate, “shovel ready” projects which are ready to proceed.

If re-elected, the McGowan Labor Government will deliver a $22 million contribution to investment into four of the highest priority projects:

  • Moora rapid rail loader and rail siding extension;
  • Brookton rapid rail loader and rail siding extension;
  • Broomehill rapid rail loader and rail siding extension; and
  • Cranbrook rapid rail loader and rail siding extension.

The State will leverage funding from the private sector to deliver the projects in full, and will continue to work with industry on other potential Tier 1 and 2 projects, through Infrastructure Australia to have improvements to WA’s agricultural supply chain added to its Priority List.

These priority projects will create more than 750 jobs through construction (based on industry estimates) and deliver a $3 million per annum boost to WA’s export revenue.

During consultation on the RARF strategy there was strong sentiment from grain growers and community stakeholders for reinstating some Tier 3 grain lines, which were closed under the former Liberal National Government’s watch.

Based on new engineering advice regarding the potential costs of upgrading parts of the network the McGowan Government is progressing a business case to investigate the viability of further rail freight investments, including potentially restoring some Tier 3 grain lines, which would require significant funding contributions from the Federal Government, as per other major regional infrastructure.

Comments attributed to Transport Minister Rita Saffioti:

“Only WA Labor delivers for regional WA, and only WA Labor invests in our rail network, including the priority agricultural freight rail projects of Tier 1 and 2.

“The former Liberal National Government privatised our freight rail network, and they closed the Tier 3 lines.

“Privatisation is in the Liberals and Nationals DNA.

“The Federal Government has committed to invest many billions in the Eastern seaboard’s Inland Rail project. The aim of our business case will be to build the foundation for a funding partnership so that the Federal Government can contribute to regional rail funding in WA, in the same way they currently contribute to regional road funding. 

“A re-elected McGowan Labor Government will immediately invest in WA’s freight rail network to support local farmers and take trucks off regional roads, and will work with the Federal Government to win more investment into regional rail in the future.”