The State Government has taken steps to control road and rail freight issues affecting the Mid-West as a result of the expansion of iron ore mining in the region.
The Planning and Infrastructure Minister Alannah MacTiernan today announced she is gazetting an order requiring any truck which proposes to transport ore from within 100km of the operational rail lines in the Mid-West to apply for a licence under the Transport Coordination Act.
These licences will in future only be granted when and for so long as the Minister is satisfied that rail is not a viable option.
The Minister confirmed today that Midwest Corporation would be granted licences to transport their ore by road to the Geraldton Port only until October 2006.
“In September 2005, I made it clear to Midwest Corporation that the Government could not accept their plan to truck their iron ore from the Koolanooka Mine to the Port for the seven years of their contract,” the Minister said.
“Transporting ore by road imposes unacceptable costs for road upgrades and maintenance onto the taxpayer, and more importantly would have too great an impact on the safety of other road users in the community.
“I told Midwest Corporation at that time it would only be permitted to cart its product to port by road if they could demonstrate that rail transport was not available.
“Today I met with the company and with the privatised rail operator. Having heard from them both, I have reluctantly had to accept that the private rail company will still not be able to offer a viable option to Midwest Corporation until October 2006.
“The Department for Planning and Infrastructure has done good work identifying future options, and there is reason to be confident that a viable option will be available to require that they shift on to rail before the end of 2006.
“While I am concerned the company may not have been pursuing its rail options as vigorously since September as I would wish, it is now evident that it will take another six to nine months to get rolling stock.
“Frankly, I am also disappointed that the privatised rail company has not pursued this business more aggressively.
“I have asked Midwest Corporation and the rail operator, the Australian Rail Group, to report progress on their negotiations in a month’s time.”
Minister's office - 9213 6400