Freight study results remain a mystery

Freight study results remain a mystery

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OPTIONS SHARED: Opposition primary industries and regional development spokesperson Eddie Hughes says EP residents deserve to see the results of a review into grain transport options.

OPTIONS SHARED: Opposition primary industries and regional development spokesperson Eddie Hughes says EP residents deserve to see the results of a review into grain transport options.

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STAKEHOLDERS are calling for the release of a study into freight options on the Eyre Peninsula in the wake of the decision by Viterra to shift away from rail from midway through this year.

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STAKEHOLDERS are calling for the release of a study into freight options on the Eyre Peninsula in the wake of the decision by Viterra to shift away from rail from midway through this year.

In December 2017, the Department of Planning, Transport and Infrastructure and EP rail owner Genesee & Wyoming Australia announced they were investing $150,000 to deliver a freight strategy for the EP, while investigating options for the upgrading of the rail network - as part of a broader review of EP freight.

Before its announcement to end the partnership with GWA, Viterra had extended the agreement to allow time for the review to be finished and distributed.

The report was handed to Transport Minister Stephan Knoll late last year but has not been released.

In response to Stock Journal's questions about when the report was received, when it would be released and why the release had been delayed, a spokesperson for Mr Knoll said the study would be released once the state government's negotiations with the federal government about funding for the EP had been finalised. 

Opposition primary industries and regional development spokesperson Eddie Hughes said the government should immediately release the study.

"We know Minister Knoll is sitting on a report which would contain options for keeping the EP rail line open," he said. "EP communities deserve to know what those options are.

"Now, more than 30 jobs are expected to be lost as a result of the closure and the change could result in an extra 30,000 truck movements per year – having a major impact on the region’s road network."

READ MORE:End of an era for EP rail network

Extra trucks a concern for EP

The South Australian Freight Council has also called for the release of the report.

SAFC executive officer Evan Knapp said the public needed to understand what options the report contained for keeping the rail line open, including government support, and the impact of forcing grain on to roads.

"While the rail network is privately-owned infrastructure, it makes sense to consider government intervention when a decision to close the lines will raise road maintenance costs on the EP for government and have implications for the broader EP community,” he said.

City of Port Lincoln mayor Brad Flaherty said he was focused on the next step of working out how to address the increased pressure on the road networks in SA.

"The priority from our point of view is what strategies we're going to have to put in place now," he said.

"The freight strategy report may even be out of date.

"We've first got to examine the increase in road traffic and increase the capacity of the roads."

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