Buswell sticks firm despite lobbying from CBH

Western Australia sticks to planned grain freight investment, dismissing calls for money allocated to roads to be spent on rail

July 28, 2011

Western Australia will stick fast to its grain investment strategy after rejecting a call from CBH for money allocated to roads to be spent on an ailing rail network instead.

Transport Minister Troy Buswell today announced the government will proceed with its plan to spend $187.9 million on grain freight lines, $118.3 million on Wheatbelt roads and $14.6 million on a transition package to help rail compete with trucks.

The grain growers co-operative had lobbied Buswell to strip money from roads and pump it into rail lines that were due to cease operations.

"There are a number of significant issues with the CBH case for government to change its investment strategy, including but not limited to an inconclusive cost benefit analysis and the fact that several infrastructure costs were not taken into account," Buswell says.

He says CBH failed to deliver a compelling case for change and that the government is not prepared to take more than $100 million out of roads.

"The government remains committed to its investment in road infrastructure to support the increased volumes transported by road to sites such as Brookton," Buswell says.

He says the government now expects CBH to invest in rapid loading facilities at Brookton and Kellerberrin in accordance with its original plan.

The government plans to spend $104 million upgrading more than 480km of state and local government roads over the next four years, with another $14 million to be spent on maintaining roads in the grain freight network.

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