Grain rail decision disappoints WALGA

The WA Local Government Association said road funding support for Wheatbelt communities needs to be urgently overhauled after authorities declined to expand carrying more grain via rail.

WA rail freight manager Arc Infrastructure and grain growing cooperative CBH determined grain freight transport by rail won’t be changed until at least 2026.

Had rail services been expanded, it would have taken pressure off local roads and councils’ unsustainable maintenance costs, WALGA said, adding the decision was disappointing.

While Councils were relieved rail services were not reduced, most Councils in WA’s grain growing areas would have preferred an expansion of services, WALGA President Cr Lynne Craigie said.

“Continuing to transport large volumes of grain by road obviously poses a safety risk to regional communities simply due to the increased volume of large vehicles on country roads,” she said.

“Critically those risks are exacerbated by the damage caused by the vehicles to the roads and the pressure on Local Governments to keep up required maintenance.” While WA motorists contributed almost $3 billion in revenue to the Commonwealth in 2018, only 45 percent was returned to state and local governments to maintain and upgrade roads, Cr Craigie added.