Report calls for new ideas in WA grain line funding

Western Australia grain chain needs new investment strategies to maintain rail system, report says

The grain supply chain in Western Australia needs to explore new investment strategies to maintain crumbling rail infrastructure, a review finds.

The independent review into the State's grain rail network calls for further analysis of investment options for the network in light of the current economic situation.

The report, released by the Parliamentary Secretary for Western and Northern Australia Gary Gray, renders previous findings by the WA Grain Infrastructure Group (GIG) in 2004 no longer viable and calls on the newly formed Strategic Grain Network Committee (SGNC) to conduct a new study.

Gray says the SGNC will ensure the grain industry has a voice in determining the most appropriate investment strategies for the rail network.

"The WA grain industry is critical to the national economy and the Rudd Government is working with the WA Government to ensure the state has sustainable and efficient freight network," he says.

WA Minister for Transport Simon O’Brien has welcomed the recommendations, saying it will allow his Government to establish an effective grain rail network.

O'Brien says there have been years of neglect by previous governments.

"The state and federal governments both agree that further work is needed to asses the grain transport chain to see what investment is required and how we optimise that investment," O’Brien says.

"We need to ensure that any public investment in WA’s grain rail network is undertaken in a manner which gives both the public and private sectors the best value for money.

"The lack of investment during the boom years means we now have to be smarter about how we target our investment to meet current and future needs in the grain rail sector."

O’Brien says the SGNC will give governments additional advice before the end of the year in terms of what needs to be done to the rail system to meet capacity needs over the next decade and beyond.

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