An agreement between Brookfield Rail and CBH Group that will keep grain on the WA rail system throughout the remainder of the season’s harvest has been applauded by WAFarmers.
The 12-month deal, which will commence on 1 January 2016, will prevent disruptions in the supply chain from up-country sites to port, and will ease concerns over potential trucking chaos on country roads.
WAFarmers President Dale Park said the signing of a new agreement would create much needed certainty of access for grain producers.
“The agreement is a huge relief for farmers on the network, as they can now focus solely on this season’s harvest,” Mr Park said.
“When CBH’s locomotive fleet was forced off the rail network for 18 hours in early May this year, it was because an agreement could not be reached.
“It caused much anxiety for producers and traders alike and resulted in a 14 per cent increase in access charges for farmers which, understandably, caused some distress.
“We are pleased that a similar situation has been avoided this time around.”
Mr Park said the dispute between Brookfield and CBH, which began in late 2013, had gone on long enough and that it was time for a long-term agreement to be reached.
“As the state’s largest and most influential agricultural advocacy group, we have had a keen interest in the proposed takeover of Asciano Limited by Brookfield, as well as the Economic Regulation Authority review of the Railway (Access) Code 2000,” Mr Park said.
“We are pleased that an interim arrangement has been made, especially surrounding the uncertainty in rail regulations.
“WAFarmers now implores Brookfield and CBH to come to a long-term agreement that would continue to provide farmers with a low cost and efficient pathway to port, at the same time as keeping the farmers’ best interests in mind.”
WAFarmers awaits the final announcement from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission which is expected on 17 December, and is hopeful that scrutiny of the proposed takeover remains systematic and transparent.
All media requests must be directed to WAFarmers Media and Communications Officer Melanie Dunn on (08) 9486 2100 or [email protected].