Monday 10th Aug, 2020

WA launches new agricultural freight strategy

Tasmania’s port operator TasPorts has received the best financial results since its inception in 2006, with a recorded consolidated net profit of $12 million for 2018-19.

A new strategy aims to set the direction for future investment into road, rail, intermodal and port infrastructure projects for the next 10 to 15 years in key agricultural regions of Western Australia.

The Revitalising Agricultural Region Freight (RARF) Strategy will provide the state a framework for project packages in the Mid-West, Great Southern, Wheatbelt and Goldfields-Esperance regions.

The 20 priority projects included in the strategy are aimed at address the challenges to improve rail infrastructure, establish intermodal terminals, undertake targeted road network investment, increase heavy vehicle access and improve regulatory efficiency.

Feedback received on the draft RARF Strategy, which was released for public comment in June 2019, has resulted in the inclusion of a more comprehensive list of road project priorities and a more targeted list of projects on the Tier 1 and Tier 2 rail networks.

WA Transport Minister Rita Saffioti said the RARF Strategy is a blueprint for strategic investment for agricultural infrastructure, underpinning the agricultural sector in the state.

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“Work has already started with industry on progressing project packages, with the State Government working with CBH and Arc Infrastructure to progress business cases for Tier 1 and Tier 2 railway packages identified as a priority in this strategy,” she said.

“We recognise there is a lot of sentiment around the Tier 3 lines and have commissioned an engineering assessment to advise on the cost and time required for potential rehabilitation.

“This new strategy will provide a strong plan for investment in agricultural freight supply chains that will assist in WA’s economic recovery following the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

WA Agriculture and Food Minister Alannah MacTiernan said the strategy addresses the key challenges faced when transporting grain, livestock, hay, and will help improve infrastructure, freight productivity and safety on freight supply networks.

“With the agricultural and food sector representing about 10 per cent of WA’s economy, we need to ensure our crucial transport supply chains continue to improve, helping our key regional agricultural areas prepare for future growth and ensure we have a diverse and robust economy,” MacTiernan said.