NORTHAM-based MP Max Trenorden is lobbying the State Government for the retention of Tier 3 grain haulage lines until at least 2014, when an updated report into rail haulage efficiency is expected to be released.
Mr Trenorden and another Agricultural Region MP, Phil Gardiner, claim the Strategic Grain Network Report recommending the closure of the lines was based on outdated research.
It is understood the closure would result in 1.5 and 2 million tonnes of grain having to be switched from rail to road transport and an additional 57,000 extra grain truck movements a year.
Mr Trenorden and Mr Gardiner obtained an annual maintenance costing of retaining Tier 3 lines from Brookfield Rail.
Mr Gardiner said the small grain rails could continue to operate viably for the years 2012-2013 and 2013-2014, in which time a new report into road versus rail could be completed.
“The (Government’s research) did not apply the same rigorous expenditure analysis of road upgrade expenditure to that that was applied the Tier 3 network,” Mr Gardiner said.
“The analysis undertaken on roads was a desk-top analysis and not road specific.”
Minister for Transport Troy Buswell said the Government was committed to spending $190 million to upgrades on the most competitive grain lines.
“There is no plan for additional funding for the Tier 3 lines beyond October 2012,” he said.
“Given the strength of the CBH/Watco partnership, the efficiencies professed by CBH and the profits it generates, there is no desire or real need to continue to use taxpayer funds to subsidise the operations of CBH.
“It is the Government’s view that if CBH desires to continue to utilise these lines, then this is a matter for negotiation between it and Brookfield."