South West Greens MLC Diane Evers has welcomed news that an engineering assessment of the condition of Western Australia’s unused Tier 3 rail lines will be commissioned by the McGowan Government.
Ms Evers, The Greens (WA) spokesperson for regional development and long-term campaigner for the re-establishment of freight on rail in regional Western Australia, met with the Rail, Tram and Bus Union WA Branch (RBTUWA) state secretary Craig McKinley in May.
The RBTUWA recently campaigned to seek support from both state and federal governments to reopen of Tier 3 rail lines in regional Western Australia and successfully lobbied WA Labor’s state executive to call on the Government to commission an independent investigation of the economic and environmental impacts of Tier 3 line closures on the WA economy and its future development.
Transport Minister Rita Saffioti later announced the engineering assessment in response to questions from Farm Weekly and said the proposed assessment would look at the potential cost and time required to bring the grain lines back to an operational standard.
WA’s Tier 3 rail lines were placed into care and maintenance in 2013 and 2014 by the State’s freight rail network operator Arc Infrastructure and Ms Evers said she hoped the assessment would outline a clear opportunity available for WA Labor to follow through on its own commitments and put freight back on rail.
WA Labor’s 2019 party platform described the Barnett Government’s closure of regional Tier 3 rail lines as ‘ill-advised, irresponsible and unsafe’, whilst committing to the recovery of closed Tier 3 lines along with a more proactive approach to the networks’ management.
QUOTES ATTRIBUTED TO DIANE EVERS MLC:
“WA loves trains and I am pleased the McGowan Government is taking further steps to maintain its commitment to the recovery of Tier 3 rail lines.
“WA Labor’s 2019 platform committed to the recovery of Tier 3 rail lines and recent comments from Minister Saffioti acknowledge the strong community support for reinstating Tier 3 rail lines.
“The RBTUWA, along with stakeholders such as the Wheatbelt Railway Retention Alliance, have done a fantastic job in pushing the Government to match its words to action through the announcement of this assessment.
“We know that rail is good for the regions and makes roads and travel safer for tourists and residents, it decreases the costs associated with road maintenance and brings work crews into regional towns.
“As recently as last year I tabled a petition to WA Parliament in August 2019 with over 3,000 signatures calling for the reopening of Tier 3 rail lines.
“It is my hope that an engineering assessment will provide the government with ample justification to support the recovery of these lines from a negligent operator and begin a regeneration of regional rail infrastructure.
“Minister Saffioti has admitted in the past that truck movements on South West roads are set to increase sharply, and projected to quadruple beyond the year 2022.
“The time has come to restore the balance between investment in unnecessary and unsustainable road infrastructure and the longer term benefit of maximising use from existing rail networks.”
GET IN TOUCH:
Hon. Diane Evers
MLC for South West
(08) 9486 8070