15/08/2006 - 09:37

State plans $14.5m Greenbushes rail works

15/08/2006 - 09:37

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The State Government has today signed an agreement paving the way for $14.5 million to be spent constructing the Greenbushes Intermodal Facility and other associated rail infrastructure.

State plans $14.5m Greenbushes rail works

The State Government has today signed an agreement paving the way for $14.5 million to be spent constructing the Greenbushes Intermodal Facility and other associated rail infrastructure.

Planning and Infrastructure Minister Alannah MacTiernan said the facility would cater for plantation timber and woodchips, resulting in a big reduction in road freight.

"Over a 10-year period, more than seven million tonnes of timber freight will be transferred from road to rail in the South-West," Ms MacTiernan said.

"The equivalent of 144 heavy haulage trucks will ultimately be taken off the region's roads every day."

The Minister said this was an innovative partnership between the State Government and WA Plantation Resources, Australian Railroad Group and WestNet Rail.

Ms MacTiernan said the project would see the upgrading of railway infrastructure and the construction of a new woodchip train loading facility at North Greenbushes.

"Under the initiative, woodchips processed at Manjimup will be trucked to the new train loading facility at North Greenbushes and railed to Bunbury Port for export," she said.

A new log transport rail service will be introduced to move blue gum plantation logs sourced from the Boyup Brook district.

"The logs will be transported by rail to Bunbury Port where they will be processed by the new WA Plantation Resources woodchip mill," Ms MacTiernan said.

The Minister said the project involved outstanding co-operation between the Government and the plantation timber and rail transport industries.

"We now expect to be able to develop a vital intermodal hub in the South-West region that will be able to cope with the growing freight demands of the plantation timber industry," she said.

"This project is the first of its kind in Western Australia to involve a public/private partnership in a venture with privatised rail."

The allocation of funding will be as follows:

  • WestNet Rail Pty Ltd - an upgrade of the track between North Greenbushes and Bunbury at a cost of $6.44million;
  • WA Chip and Pulp Co. Pty Ltd - construction of train loading facilities at Greenbushes, log loading infrastructure and associated works at Bunbury Port at a cost of $6.71million; and
  • WACAP - construction of a rail siding at the Port of Bunbury at a cost of $1.3million.

"A key feature is that Government funds will be spent only on improving State-owned assets," Ms MacTiernan said.

The majority of Government spending on this project is planned to take place within the South-West region, benefiting local contractors.

Expected construction will begin in October with the facility due to start operating in mid-2007.

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