Hon Rita Saffioti BBus MLA

Hon Rita Saffioti BBus MLA

Minister for Transport; Planning; Ports

    $200 million boost for Western Australia’s regional rail freight network

    3/05/2022 10:00 AM
    • $200 million in joint Commonwealth ($160 million) and State ($40 million) Government funding
    • First package secured for the Agricultural Supply Chain Improvement (ASCI) program
    • Four programs included in first package to better connect key WA agricultural supply chains

    Western Australia's key agricultural areas will receive a funding boost for freight infrastructure, following a joint Commonwealth and State funding commitment of $200 million for the first package of the Agricultural Supply Chain Improvement (ASCI) program.


    On the back of a record 24 million tonne harvest, worth around $8 billion to WA's economy, the McGowan Government is committed to ensuring freight infrastructure keeps up with growing demand.


    The four projects funded under the first ASCI package will help WA grain growers and other primary producers transport their product to markets - in Australia and around the world. 


    The projects to be funded have been determined in close consultation with CBH, rail network manager Arc Infrastructure, grower groups and local government.


    The $200 million package will go towards the following four project areas. This government funding will leverage millions in private sector investment for the region:


    • $22 million for four rail siding extensions for CBH grain bins at Moora, Brookton, Cranbrook, and Broomehill, complementing significant CBH investment in rail loading facilities. These works are now underway;
    • $46 million for seven additional grain rail siding upgrades at Avon, Kellerberrin, Dowerin, Konnongorring, Ballidu, Mingenew, and Perenjori North, which will help CBH load longer trains much more quickly;
    • $60 million for Midland Line Main Line upgrading from 16 Tonne Axle Loading (TAL) to 19 TAL between Carnamah and Mingenew, allowing heavier trains and a 20 per cent increase in train loads. With around 400,000 tonnes of grain per year being carried on this section, the upgrade will provide operational improvements and freight cost savings for all grain growers delivering to bins on selected line sections; and
    • $72 million for the Southern Wheatbelt region towards the progressive recommissioning of the Narrogin-Kulin rail line and associated works to service grain and other potential customers in the Narrogin-Wickepin area via a Tier 3 line. The Narrogin-Kulin line was closed in 2013. The first stage of this project will be a study to assess the most useful way to make this investment for the benefit of all potential freight users and the community.

    The siding upgrades are to be complemented by at least $200 million of investment in rapid loading bins and elevators by CBH. 


    For CBH and the grain growing industry, these works will further assist the effort to move grain rapidly to port after harvest, to capitalise on strong international demand and high prices. Loading longer trains more quickly at the strategically located CBH bins will bring tangible financial returns to growers in the region.


    The $72 million Southern Wheatbelt project will increase the amount of grain moved by rail and decrease the number of trucks on regional roads. Equally important, it will provide the capacity for other primary producers, for example hay exporters, to use a rail service.


    The new WA Kaolin clay mine, near Wickepin, will also benefit from a potential rail freight service, as its export production ramps up in coming years.


    Securing this funding means the planning and design phase can now commence, with completion of the projects expected in 2025.


    The State and Commonwealth have already partnered to deliver $187.5 million in funding for the Wheatbelt Secondary Freight Network program. A further $36 million in joint funding will commence the Mid-West and Great Southern Secondary Freight Network programs to further improve export connections throughout the agricultural regions.


    Comments attributed to Transport Minister Rita Saffioti:


    "The McGowan Government is committed to improving regional freight infrastructure.


    "We are already spending a record amount on regional roads and we are now able to prioritise further investment on the regional freight rail network.


    "This $200 million will ensure our regional freight network continues to keep up with demand now and into the future.


    "The recent record harvest of 24 million tonnes shows that we need to continue to invest in road and rail to provide an increasingly efficient transport network.


    "The ASCI rail project funding, closely aligned with CBH's train loading investments, will deliver freight cost savings and grain price benefits each year to grain growers throughout the agricultural region."


    Minister's office - 6552 5500