- McGowan Government election commitment to boost freight and trade efficiency
- Freight priorities identified for the Mid-West, Wheatbelt, Great Southern and Goldfields-Esperance agricultural regions
- New draft strategy to guide policy and investment decisions for the next 10 years
- Initial $10 million investment to upgrade key commodity routes announced today
- Final plan will help State Government vie for Commonwealth funding
The draft 'Revitalising Agricultural Region Freight Strategy - Responding to Change' has today been released for public comment.
The strategy provides a framework to prioritise decision-making to address the key challenges faced when transporting grain, livestock, hay, fertiliser and agricultural lime in the key agricultural regions of the Mid-West, Wheatbelt, Great Southern and Goldfields-Esperance.
The strategy has identified more than 20 multi-modal regional transport infrastructure project packages, which can assist in improving agricultural freight efficiencies and productivity.
These include upgrading rail lines and improving access for longer trains, building new regional intermodal terminals and upgrading roads to allow for heavy vehicle access.
Coinciding with the release of today's draft strategy is the announcement of 20 regional road upgrades worth a total of $10 million as part of the State Government's Commodity Freight Routes package announced in the recent State Budget.
Many of the secondary freight roads funded feature as priority upgrades in the draft 'Revitalising Agricultural Region Freight Strategy - Responding to Change'.
The State Budget also had $14 million allocated to Wheatbelt Secondary Freight Routes to complement $70 million put forward by the Commonwealth. This is part of the State Government's wider $2 billion regional roads budget for Western Australia.
The State Government is seeking public comment on the strategy via http://www.mysaytransport.wa.gov.au/RARF-strategy. The feedback period closes on July 12, 2019.
Comments attributed to Transport Minister Rita Saffioti:
"With the agricultural and food sector representing about 10 per cent of WA's economy, we need to ensure our crucial transport supply chains continue to improve, helping our key regional agricultural areas prepare for future growth.
"The draft Revitalising Agricultural Region Freight Strategy identifies high priority infrastructure investments and regulatory improvements to help enhance efficiency, safety and economic growth of our agricultural sector - which are central to our ability to compete on a global scale.
"The strategy provides a framework for business cases to be developed for road, rail, intermodal and port infrastructure projects for the next 10-15 years.
"Having an endorsed strategy will help the State Government apply for further Commonwealth funding for regional transport infrastructure.
"We are seeking public comment on the draft strategy to ensure the best agricultural freight outcomes can be achieved for the key agricultural regions into the future."
Comments attributed to Regional Development Minister Alannah MacTiernan:
"This draft freight strategy has been developed in step with the needs of industry and the key agricultural regions to ensure we produce the best result for Western Australia.
"The freight task associated with agricultural supply chains presents challenges that are unique to these regions.
"Improving transport efficiency across the agricultural supply chains will go a long way towards boosting the international competitiveness of WA products, and ensuring we have diverse regional economies."
Transport Minister's office - 6552 5500
Regional Development Minister's office - 6552 6200