Today, farmers from across WA’s south are gathering on the steps of Parliament in Perth to protest the closure of a further 500km of rail track, the increase in freight charges and the increased truck movements on our roads - and will be seeking immediate action from the Barnett Government.
While Labor did not oppose privatising the freight business in 1999, we did strongly oppose the 49 year lease of the rail track as we saw it was a recipe for disaster.
All of our predictions at the time have come true with a total of 730 kilometres of rail closure despite the significant profits of private rail operators.
Farmers in the South West are expected to pay an extra $2 million in freight for the upcoming harvest and the roads are increasingly becoming unsafe.
This bad deal has been made worse by the Barnett Government who amended the lease to allow Brookfield Rail to keep possession of the rail lines even if they were not operating them.
This has prevented rail freight operator CBH from accessing the rail line to provide much needed services.
Mr Fitzgibbon said that farmers across the Wheatbelt are angered by Premier Barnett’s refusal to take action on this very important matter, particularly when the Premier has said:
“I certainly intend to take a very direct interest in agriculture as Premier. It’s an industry that’s been the backbone of WA for a very long time. There are great opportunities in terms of food security amongst developing nations and our capacity is there to grow and expand and broaden our agriculture.”
The Australian, 11 March 2013.
Transport infrastructure is a critical factor for the agriculture sector to fully capitalise on the “Dining Boom” and farmers deserve more than political rhetoric and policy inertia.
TUESDAY, 25 NOVEMBER 2014
Joint Media Release
THE HON ALANNAH MACTIERNAN MP
SHADOW PARLIAMENTARY SECRETARY FOR WESTERN AUSTRALIA
SHADOW PARLIAMENTARY SECRETARY FOR REGIONAL DEVELOPMENT AND INFRASTRUCTURE
MEMBER FOR PERTH
THE HON JOEL FITZGIBBON MP
SHADOW MINISTER FOR AGRICULTURE
SHADOW MINISTER FOR RURAL AFFAIRS
SPOKESPERSON FOR COUNTRY CAUCUS
MEMBER FOR HUNTER