The Tier 3 railroad system that has for decades moved grain
from the wheat belt east of Perth, is about to be shut down, putting hundreds of trucks on the roads between Brookton and Northam, and the coastal ports. This will have a negative effect on road safety and traffic, tear up the road beds and will consume an additional hundred-fifty-thousand litres of fuel per year which will pollute the air and contribute to climate change.
The State-owned system was privatised in 2000. Brookfield, the Canadian company that owns it, says it would cost too much to repair the track so they are closing it down. WA exports 12 million tonnes of grain a year, much of it through the port at Kwinana. The trains currently move thru the city to the ports with little impact. The trucks will drive down Brookton Highway and Grt. Eastern Highway, then Roe Highway to Russell Road
The Government has refused to subsidise the repairs for $93 million, which is less than the cost of the Great Eastern Highway-Roe Highway intersection, a fifth the price of the new Foreshore development, and a tenth the price of the new Footy Oval. The wear and tear alone on the roads used by the grain trucks will amount to that in a few years. A billion dollars in Royalties’ to Regions money is sitting waiting to be used, but the Nationals who control it aren’t interested. Ironically, CBH, the grain hauler, just purchased a new fleet of trains.
This makes no sense, environmentally, socially, or economically.