WA councils campaign for grain rail upgrade

By Staff Writer

West Australian councils have backed an industry campaign to upgrade the state’s grain freight rail network.

Launched by WestNet Rail and supported by Cooperative Bulk Handling, Australian Railroad Group and the West Australian Local Government Association (WALGA), the campaign aims to prevent 300,000 trucks being added to WA roads each year.

WALGA president Cr Bill Mitchell said the freight rail network needed an immediate upgrade to prevent additional trucks being added to the road network.

“If the thousands of kilometres of rail lines currently in use are forced to close, local communities will bear the burden with grain laden trucks streaming through rural, regional and metropolitan towns,” Cr Mitchell said.

“The increased traffic will have a marked effect on the condition of local roads and ultimately impact upon road safety and the amenity of local communities.”

Cr Mitchell said there was already a shortfall of $112 million per annum for local road preservation and the impact of additional traffic would be unmanageable for local councils.

“Industry is ready to commit $113 million towards investment in maintaining the rail network, now it is up to both State and Federal Governments to step up and demonstrate their commitment to nation building infrastructure projects, as well as the safety and amenity of local communities," he said.

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