Election 2013 Western Australia March 9

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Grain Rail iT Matters

WA Labor to keep grain on rail and trucks off roads

Labor Statement

WA Labor will allocate $30million over the next three years to keep Tier 3 grain rail lines open and trucks off our roads, WA Labor Mark McGowan said today.

Mr McGowan said the $30million contribution would help the rail network operator and users of the lines to reach an agreement that ensures the continued operation of the Tier 3 rail lines.

"Brendon Grylls and his National Party have broken their 2008 election promise to keep Tier 3 rail lines open," Mr McGowan said.

"As a result of the Barnett-Grylls Government's decision to close the 700 kilometres of Tier 3 rail lines, grain will have to be transported from across the Wheatbelt to Forrestfield and the Kwinana Grain Terminal.

"Roads across the Wheatbelt and in the Perth metropolitan area will become more congested, more dangerous and require costly ongoing maintenance.

"The increased truck traffic will have a significant impact on already congested metropolitan roads including Great Eastern Highway, Roe Highway, Brookton Highway and Thomas Road.

"The Wheatbelt Rail Retention Alliance has estimated the rail closure will put between 57,000 and 85,000 extra truck movements on our roads annually.

"There is significant community concern about the impact of closing the Tier 3 lines on Wheatbelt communities.

"The Wheatbelt already has the highest road death toll in Western Australia, with 740 killed or seriously injured between 2001 and 2010."

Mr McGowan said a report tabled by the WA Auditor General this month into the State's rail freight network stated 'Without further government funding, the remaining eight Tier 3 grain lines are likely to be taken out of service after 2013'.

"WA Labor has consulted widely with stakeholders involved in this issue to determine the State Government contribution that will be necessary to keep the lines operating," he said.

"$30 million over three years will help the rail network operator and users of the lines to reach a commercial agreement to keep the Tier 3 rail lines open.

"This will be the largest single injection of new State Government money into keeping the narrow gauge rail lines operating in WA."

Mr McGowan said the Barnett-Grylls Government had its chance to fund the retention of our grain rail network and failed.

"Only the election of a McGowan Labor Government will ensure the grain rail network gets the firm financial commitment it needs to keep the rail lines open," he said.

"Colin Barnett and Brendon Grylls both have a history of breaking rail promises after elections, which means nothing else they promise can be believed.

"WA Labor will make it a priority to fix dangerous country roads and reduce the congestion on our metropolitan roads. Better priorities for a better future."

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