Reopen the Railway Line Between Bunbury and Greenbushes

About This Campaign

The transport of lithium is a significant issue requiring serious and urgent consideration from government. Over the past year I have supported calls for the State Government to pursue the improvement and development of railway infrastructure from the Talison Greenbushes mine.

With the potential impact of substantial increases in truck traffic through the local community and along South Western Highway as a result of road freight movements, a rail freight solution between the lithium mine, lithium refineries and the ports of Bunbury and Kwinana needs serious consideration.

The use of rail to transport Lithium from the Greenbushes mine would remove a significant number of trucks from the South Western Highway, and thereby:

  • Increase the safety of road users;
  • Reduce noise pollution, air pollution and carbon emissions;
  • Reduce maintenance and associated costs
  • Reduce heavy traffic passing through Balingup, Mullalyup, Kirup, Donnybrook and Boyanup towns;
  • Retain the aesthetic values and quality of life in Balingup, Mullalyup, Kirup, Donnybrook and Boyanup towns for local residents, visitors and tourists; and
  • Allow for further rail freight movements of products in other industries.

Key Points

  • Arc Infrastructure, understandably, have no interest unless they are able to make an acceptable level of profit;
  • The current lease allows Arc to determine that the line is uneconomic, and as such not use it, to the detriment of the state and other potential end users;
  • To make full use of rail, would require significant capital investment, which would increase the value of the existing asset and associated ports;
  • Experts in Sustainable Infrastructure Development have stated that the value of the trade over twenty to thirty years justifies the rail line upgrade. (Detail can be supplied on request);
  • Rick Wilson, Federal Member for O’Connor, has stated his support on ABC radio, indicating an application could be made for federal infrastructure funding;
  • Over the life of the mine there will be a substantial number of road train movements, 200 per day at peak production, based on current expectations. These truck movements will require, increased road funding for construction, maintenance and policing/emergency services, between Greenbushes and the processing facilities at Kemerton and Kwinana.  Much of this cost will fall to the WA State Government.
  • Additional truck movements will cause further congestion at the Kwinana facilities which could be avoided using rail infrastructure; and
  • Following processing of spodumene into lithium mineral concentrate at Kemerton and Kwinana, there would be additional transport movements to transport the tailings or waste material. This transport of tailings, would also make use of the rail infrastructure.

Activity

Diane appeals to the State Government to take action, and go against previous government political trends away from rail, by supporting the re-commissioning of the freight lines for the benefit of the State.

Diane met with representatives from Talison, Arc and the SWDC regarding the re-commissioning of the South West Rail line.

Diane tabled a petition to the Legislative Council in August 2019 in support of reopening the railway line to transport lithium from Greenbushes. You can find information about the petition here.

Diane has asked a number of Questions and made Member’s Statements in Parliament on the matter:

13 Jun 2018 BUNBURY-GREENBUSHES RAIL LINE – LITHIUM MINING [Questions Without Notice]

15 Aug 2018 FREIGHT RAIL NETWORK [Statement, Adjournments]

22 Nov 2018 BUNBURY-GREENBUSHES RAIL LINE – LITHIUM MINING [Questions Without Notice]

29 Nov 2018 LITHIUM MINING – GREENBUSHES – BYPASS ROAD [Questions Without Notice]

5 Dec 2018 BUNBURY-GREENBUSHES RAIL LINE – LITHIUM MINING [Questions Without Notice]

5 Dec 2018 BUNBURY-GREENBUSHES RAIL LINE – LITHIUM MINING [Statement]

11 Apr 2019 LITHIUM RAIL SUPPLY CHAIN [Questions Without Notice]

8 Aug 2019 BUNBURY-GREENBUSHES RAIL LINE – LITHIUM MINING [Petition]

13 Aug 2019 LITHIUM RAIL SUPPLY CHAIN [Questions Without Notice]

13 Aug 2019 BUNBURY-GREENBUSHES RAIL LINE – LITHIUM MINING [Statement]

Media Releases

16 Aug 2018 Time to reactivate closed rail lines

12 Aug 2018 Thousands in SW community call for Government to return freight to rail