Independents attack Libs’ rail policy

The Rural Independents criticise the Liberals’ plan to close the Tier 3 rail network.
The Rural Independents criticise the Liberals’ plan to close the Tier 3 rail network.

Max Trenorden, Philip Gardiner, Bill Cowan, Robert Kestel and Lindsay Tuckwell, who make up the Independent team, said the paper clearly states the Liberals would close down the Tier 3 rail network later this year.

Mr Trenorden said the electorate should be fully aware the paper re-affirms Transport Minister Troy Buswell’s decision to close the network.

WA Premier Colin Barnett said if the Liberal Government was re-elected it would keep commercially viable Tier 3 rail lines open.

‘We have committed to keeping all lines open until October and, by that time, we will have a clear picture of the state of the tracks, the volume of grain carried on those lines and the condition of the roads in the area,’ Mr Barnett said.

‘Then we can decide which lines need to stay open and will commit to adequate funding to maintain them.’

But Mr Trenorden said the State Government had not committed any funding for the network.

‘It is a self-fulfilling prophecy, the lines will close,’ he said.

‘The electorate will have an inadequate rail system, complemented by an inadequate road network,’ he said.

He quoted from the Auditor-General’s report, which states: ‘The condition of the narrow gauge lines used primarily for carrying grain has degraded.

‘The grain lines have required substantial government funding to remain in service.

‘Two of the uneconomic lines have been placed in care and maintenance and without further government funding; the remaining eight are likely to be taken out of service after 2013.’