A convoy of trucks headed by WAFarmers and the Wheatbelt Railway Retention Alliance drove through parts of Perth today to demonstrate their opposition to the closure of Tier 3 rail lines.
As part of the demonstration, WAFarmers and WRRA have called on the State government and Brookfield Rail, which leases the lines from the government, to act swiftly to reopen the lines, which cart grain from areas such as Quairading, Kulin and Narembeen.
The extra traffic is what Perth drivers can expect from now on since the crucial Tier 3 lines were closed on June 30, WAFarmers President Dale Park said.
“Rail is the most efficient and safest way to cart grain, hands down,” Mr Park said.
“Without Tier 3 rail, we lose an essential link in the grain transport network and force more trucks onto poorly maintained regional roads as well as crowded metropolitan roads, compromising everyone’s road safety.”
Wheatbelt Railway Retention Alliance Chairman Greg Richards said the groups had requested the lines be re-opened until at least October 31 to allow for last season’s record harvest to be delivered, pending the outcomes of both the Economic Regulation Authority investigation and Parliamentary Inquiry into the management of WA’s freight rail network.
“Closing these lines is akin to shutting down the Mandurah-Perth rail line and putting all the commuters on buses – it just doesn’t make sense,” Mr Richards said.
“We need swift action to ensure farmers can get their grain to port in the most efficient way without the safety of regional and metropolitan road users being put at risk.”
WAFarmers and WRRA warned that today’s demonstration was just a pre-cursor to further and bigger action should a satisfactory outcome not be attained.
All media requests must be directed to WAFarmers Marketing and Communications Officer Leslee Hall on (08) 9486 2100 or [email protected].