GrainCorp director slams slow rail investment

By: Paul Howell

Donald McGauchie says a further $50 million worth of east coast upgrades are needed.

GrainCorp director slams slow rail investment
GrainCorp boss Donald McGauchie has criticised governments for not investing more money in rail freight.


GrainCorp director Donald McGauchie says the Federal Government and eastern states are under-investing in the national freight rail network.

He says that is pushing a "crazy" amount of wheat on to the less efficient road network and costing Australian farmers a potential $5 per tonne cut in supply chain costs.

"We are in the crazy situation now where to take a 3.5 million tonne crop through Geelong [port] 20 years ago, 2.5 million tonnes would have come from rail. Now 2.5 million tonnes goes on road," he told the Australian Financial Review.

"That does not make any sense."

In June this year, GrainCorp revealed a $200 million plan to upgrade its supply chain infrastructure, including along the eastern rail corridor.

It had hoped that authorities in Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria (as well as the Federal Government) would invest a further $50 million in the rail network itself.

In particular, the company is hoping for longer sidings at several export-focused ports to allow for faster loading and unloading of longer trains, and gauge improvements that would allow the transport of heavier loads.

McGauchie says the full value of GrainCorp’s investment will not be realised without the co-operation and co-investment of the relevant authorities.

As well as a director of GrainCorp, McGauchie is also chairman of Nufarm and Australian Agricultural Company.

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