Return to Rail the Key in Regional Regeneration

Hon. Diane Evers MLC (left) with the Wheatbelt Railway Retention Alliance’s Jane Fuchsbichler.
Hon. Diane Evers MLC (left) with the Wheatbelt Railway Retention Alliance’s Jane Fuchsbichler.

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WA Greens MLC Diane Evers will take further steps on behalf of community organisation this week when she tables a petition in Western Australian Parliament supporting the re-opening of Tier 3 rail lines in regional Western Australia.

Ms Evers, The Greens (WA) spokesperson for regional development, will table a petition supported by over a thousand signatories in the Legislative Council on Wednesday, opposed to the historic closure of Tier 3 rail infrastructure by the lessee, Arc Infrastructure.

The petition will call on the WA Labor Government to make a pre-election commitment to upgrade and re-open Tier 3 rail lines, ensure transparency in all future contracts, and explore options to return the control of Tier 3 lines to the State when Arc Infrastructure declares them to be uneconomical.

The community call has been led by the Wheatbelt Railway Retention Alliance’s Jane Fuchsbichler, as the principal petitioner. Ms Fuchsbishler is seeking to redress the cost-shifting to the WA export industry, taxpayers and ratepayers through increased transport costs and road safety and maintenance. The shift to road transport also puts additional pressure on the environment with increased carbon emissions.

Ms Evers is a long-term campaigner for the re-establishment of freight on rail in regional Western Australia and tabled an earlier petition to WA Parliament on behalf of the South West community in August 2019, when over 3,000 signatories called for lithium from the Greenbushes mine to be transported by rail.

QUOTES ATTRIBUTED TO DIANE EVERS MLC:

“Western Australians love trains and this petition is a clear request that the WA Labor Government must take further steps to recover Tier 3 rail lines.

“State and federal governments spend vast amounts on road infrastructure, while century-old rail networks that could perform much of the freight task, have been neglected.

“The southern wheatbelt region has the highest road toll in all of Australia and with intrastate regional road travel likely to reach the highest levels in history as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, there has never been a more important time to take action on road safety.

“Areas of the state with the highest levels of crop production also have the highest road death toll; rail transport and significant reduction of road train journeys would reduce the risks.

“Last year, Transport Minister Rita Saffioti admitted that truck movements on South West roads are set to increase sharply, and projected to quadruple beyond the year 2022.

“If WA Labor is genuine about jobs and recovery as our state transitions through this pandemic, it will exercise its power to restore the state’s rail networks, beginning with the reclamation of Tier 3 lines from appalling neglect.

GET IN TOUCH:
Hon. Diane Evers
MLC for South West
(08) 9486 8070

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