Election: ALP commits $60m to Esperance port access upgrade

15/11/2007 - 15:37

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The Federal Labor Party will fund a third of an estimated $180 million upgrade to road and rail networks in Esperance to improve access to the port, Opposition Transport spokesman Martin Ferguson announced today.

Election: ALP commits $60m to Esperance port access upgrade

The Federal Labor Party will fund a third of an estimated $180 million upgrade to road and rail networks in Esperance to improve access to the port, Opposition Transport spokesman Martin Ferguson announced today.

The plan has been endorsed by WestNet Rail, which owns much of Western Australia's grain rail freight network.

WestNet Rail chief executive John Cleland said the commitment was significant.

"WestNet Rail also looks forward to the State Government similarly committing to a funding solution.

 

 

The full text of an announcement from Mr Ferguson's office is pasted below, followed by the WestNet announcement

A Rudd Labor Government will partner with the private sector and State government to deliver a $180 million upgrade to road and rail networks in Esperance and improve access to the port for crucial export industries.

Labor is also concerned about the rail networks that get wheat and mining products to ports like Esperance.

Australian farmers are suffering from one of the worst droughts on record, and to add insult to injury, the infrastructure they need to get their product to global markets is crumbling.

Western Australia produces 50 per cent of Australia's $5 billion annual wheat and coarse grain exports.

But the rail network to get grain and mining exports to ports is in disarray.

Federal Labor will invest $3 million to set up a high-powered taskforce of growers, handlers and freighters, the National Farmers Federation, WestNet Rail and the Western Australian government to get grain exports back on track and use rail more for mining exports from the south-west.

The $3 million taskforce will come up with a solution involving public and private sector investment and open and fair access arrangements.

Labor will then invest in the solutions developed by the taskforce as part of the AusLink 2 national transport funding package from 2009 to 2014.

A Rudd Labor Government will end the blame game and work co-operatively with the State government and private sector to get exports in the West back on track.

Federal Labor's $60 million investment towards the $180 million Esperance Port access project is a comprehensive plan to clear local bottlenecks and deliver a:

  • Road bridge over the railway, connecting Harbour Road to Johns Street;
  • Relocation of Harbour Road just east of the Johns Street Bridge to the southern side of the transport corridor;
  • Realignment of the railway tracks to the north of the new road;
  • Bridge to link Twilight Beach Road to The Esplanade; and
  • Bridge overpass to move traffic from south to north over the railway line.
  • Our commitments are an economically responsible investment that will boost Western Australia's productivity and secure jobs for the future.

Labor's $60 million investment is a win for local motorists and the Western Australian economy.

Labor understands that there's nothing more frustrating than sitting at boomgates waiting for a long freight train to pass.

We also know that the grain, minerals and metals railed to the Port of Esperance are a critical export industry for the West.

That's why eliminating three train crossings is a smart investment for the future.

It means motorists won't be delayed on their daily commute and farmers and miners can get their goods to market more quickly.

It will boost safety for Esperance residents by putting cars on overpasses away from potentially dangerous train crossings.

The Howard Government has neglected Western Australian infrastructure for 11 long years.

While the mining boom has taken off and exports through Esperance have grown 30% in five years, the Howard Government has been asleep at the wheel and infrastructure has fallen behind.

Esperance Port is the largest nickel export port in the southern hemisphere, the deepest port in southern Australia and by next year is expected to handle 190 ships and more than 10 million tonnes of trade.

So why isn't the Howard Government interested?

Investing in Esperance is the sort of nation-building infrastructure Kevin Rudd and Labor are passionate about.

It's about Labor's core business - jobs.

Better road and rail connections to the Port of Esperance secure the jobs of the miners and grain growers who export through it and those who work at the port.

It also improves the quality of life for locals who want to get around town without being held up by trains with tonnes of iron ore and other exports.

Federal Labor's more than $900 million Auslink 2 commitment to Western Australia so far:

  • Up to $60 million to improve access to Esperance Port for grain and mineral exporters;
  • $80 million towards the $100 million duplication of the Dampier Highway;
  • $160 million to upgrade Port Hedland roads;
  • $3 million to find a solution to get the branch lines back on track in the wheat belt;
  • $361 million for Perth-Mandurah-Bunbury roads including the New Perth bunbury Highway, the Mandurah Entrance Road and the Bunbury Port Access Road/Outer ring Road;
  • $180 million to six-lane the Great Eastern Highway from the airport to the Graham Farmer Freeway;
  • $48 million to grade separate the Great Eastern Highway and Roe Highway intersection;
  • $10 million towards a new interchange at the Reid Highway/Alexander Drive intersection (a Strategic Regional project); and
  • $10 million towards upgrading Hepburn Avenue with $5 million to the City of Wanneroo and $5 million to the City of Swan (a Strategic Regional project).

 

 

The full text of the WestNet Rail announcement is pasted below

WestNet Rail welcomes Federal Labor's commitment to invest in WA's grain transport infrastructure.

WestNet Rail has today welcomed the announcement by the Shadow Minister for Transport, Roads and Tourism, Martin Ferguson, of a commitment to invest in the Western Australian grain transport infrastructure.

The ALP has announced an investment of $3 million to establish a taskforce to develop solutions involving public and private sector investment and open and fair access arrangements for the State's grain rail freight network. A further commitment has been made to invest in the solutions developed by the taskforce as part of the Auslink 2 national transport funding package from 2009 to 2014.

"This is a significant and welcome commitment from the ALP to resolving this important issue for the broader grain and transport industries," said John Cleland, Chief Executive Officer of WestNet Rail.

The Grain Infrastructure Group, involving WestNet Rail, CBH, AWB Limited, ARG and the Western Australian Department for Planning and Infrastructure has undertaken extensive analysis of the grain transport infrastructure and in late 2006 made detailed recommendations to the State and Federal Governments regarding a funding and investment solution involving both levels of government and industry.

The taskforce announced by the ALP would be in a position to leverage off the Grain Infrastructure Group analysis and make detailed recommendations supported by all participants very quickly.

"WestNet Rail also looks forward to the State Government similarly committing to a funding solution.

"WestNet Rail has a substantial investment of resources and people in the WA grain rail freight network and is committed to its ongoing operation and development," said Mr Cleland.

STANDING BY BUSINESS. TRUSTED BY BUSINESS.

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