ROAD to Rail campaigners say the Barnett government’s vague promise this week to putting 30 per cent of freight onto rail means nothing without a deadline or funding details.
WA transport minister Troy Buswell issued a statement Tuesday saying the LibNats would increase the rail subsidy to $15.5 million by 2016-17 to get more freight off trucks.
Mr Buswell’s claim there had been a 12 per cent increase of rail containers to the port in four years was immediately shot down by Road to Rail convenor Annolies Truman.
“According to public documents from parliament, the percentage of containers travelling by rail to the port fell after the Coalition took office, from 17 per cent to 11,” she says.
Road to Rail secretary Gaye Page-Burt adds: “The fact that the proportion of containers on rail has increased again to 14 per cent does not appear to be due to Mr Buswell’s efforts as it was the federal government which funded the extension of the rail line at Fremantle Port, not the WA government.”
Fremantle indepenent MP Adele Carles says her former partner’s push for more freight on rail is “a step in the right direction”: “The number of trucks on our Fremantle roads is totally unacceptable,” she says.
“However, container growth is set to double at the port in the next 10 years, which is why I say that the only real long-term solution is for a second southern port to be built now.”
by BRENDAN FOSTER