Grain transport prospects clearer, but short term worries

Long term prospects of Western Australian grain transport a step closer to certainty after sector meets transport minister

The long term prospects of Western Australian grain transport could be a step closer to certainty after sector representatives met with Minister for Transport Simon O’Brien on Wednesday.

However, the Western Australian Farmers Federation (WAFF) has stressed the importance of short term transport needs after the WA Government failed to provide funding for rail routes vital to grain exports in the region.

O’Brien says Wednesday’s meeting served as a starting block to decide on a process which will guide the Government’s decision on future investment on rail networks throughout WA.

"It was agreed that industry would participate in the process set up by the Government through which the Freight and Logistics Council would asses various options for improving the capacity of the transport system to move more again," O’Brien says.

But Colin Nicholl who is in charge of transport at the WAFF says with the grain harvest approaching quickly farmers need answers.

"We are looking for a short term solution, unless we have a planned alternative there will be an additional three quarters of a million tonnes of grain going on roads," Nicholls says.

"These will be mainly shires and the shires will suffer."

Nicholls says while the WA road transport network is highly efficient any long term plans to move grain transportation to the roads must bring into regard future carbon taxes which are to be introduced.

"Our staffers have done some research into it and it turns out carbon taxes could had 50c per kilometre onto transport costs," he says.

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