Media Release - Shire of Narrogin Supports Government Investment in Recommissioning Rail Lines for Road Safety and Economic Growth

Published on Thursday, 25 May 2023 at 4:13:24 PM


Shire of Narrogin Supports Government Investment in Recommissioning Rail Lines for Road Safety and Economic Growth

The Shire of Narrogin has come out fully supporting the recent State Government media release announcing the appointment of Agonis Group and Jacobs Australia to conduct a study on the recommissioning of Tier 3 freight rail lines in the Wheatbelt region. This study will assess the Narrogin-Kulin-Wickepin rail lines with the aim of improving road safety and addressing pending looming issues in the district, in particular in relation to the potential risk of up to 500,000 tonnes of white clay (kaolin) coming through the main street of Narrogin Townsite every year, down Kipling Street, a major pedestrian and school bus route, combined with a potentially deadly incline and surrounded by residences.

The Narrogin-Kulin-Wickepin Tier 3 Recommissioning Study will provide critical insights into the engineering, economic, and network potential of recommissioning sections of these rail lines. Agonis Group will deliver a capital cost estimation of the recommissioning, while Jacobs Australia will provide an economic assessment of the project and compile all study components into a comprehensive final report.

As part of the study, Jacobs Australia will consult with key stakeholders, including Co-operative Bulk Handling, local Shires, rail and road freight operators, local grain and export commodity producers, and community members. This collaborative approach ensures that all perspectives are considered and that the project aligns with the needs and aspirations of the local community.

The Shire of Narrogin recognises the importance of investing in rail infrastructure to enhance road safety and promote economic growth in our region. The recommissioning of these rail lines will alleviate pending issues through the Town of Narrogin, specifically addressing concerns related to the transportation of grain, general commodities, and Kaolin. By shifting freight to rail, we can reduce congestion, improve efficiency, and ensure the long-term viability of our road network.

Shire President Mr Leigh Ballard stated “We extend our gratitude to the State and Commonwealth Governments for their joint funding of the Agricultural Supply Chain Improvement (ASCI) Program, which has allocated $72 million to support this study and the initial works. This investment echoes our advocacy for the importance of the project and demonstrates the government's commitment to regional development and their recognition of the benefits that efficient rail infrastructure can bring to our local industries and communities”.

Mr Leigh Ballard added, "The Shire of Narrogin fully supports the recommissioning of the Narrogin-Kulin-Wickepin rail lines. This study is a crucial step in understanding the potential of rail transport in our region and ensuring the safety and prosperity of our community. We urge all stakeholders to actively engage in the consultation process and work together to achieve a sustainable and integrated freight network."

Mr Ballard added “With Narrogin moving to becoming a renewable energy hub for the region, it is also imperative that rail investment occurs to cart the 500,000 tonnes of kaolin per annum that will travel through our district to port. This must be done by rail. Not only will it be far safer for our roads and town but will also reduce CO2 emissions with rail achieving a recognised 85% reduction in CO2 emissions (compared to road).”

The Shire of Narrogin looks forward to the outcomes of the study and remains committed to collaborating with the government, local communities, and industry stakeholders to advocate for necessary investments that enhance our region's commitment to reducing CO2 emissions, and improving road safety, infrastructure, economy, and quality of life.

President Ballard urged residents to have their say on the State's survey by visiting the My Say Transport website at: . The survey closes 5pm Friday 16 June 2023.

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Further information on this media release may be obtained by contacting Dale Stewart, or telephone 08 9890 0900.

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