Brookton sod-turning kicks off WA upgrades

Grain Central, February 27, 2023

Wheatbelt Development Commission acting CEO Susan Hall, Minister for Agriculture Jacki Jarvis, CBH Group chair Simon Stead, Member for the Agricultural Region Darren West and CBH Group CEO Ben Macnamara. Photo: Jackie Jarvis

SITE works have begun at the Western Australian Wheatbelt town of Brookton on the first of 11 rail siding upgrades to optimise the safe and efficient transport of the state’s bumper grain harvests to domestic and international markets.

Constructed by WA company Multiplant, the Brookton rail siding extension will connect to the CBH Group grain bin, allowing longer trains to load grain adjacent to the Great Southern Line without causing congestion on the main line.

The upgrade is part of Package 1 of the $200M Agricultural Supply Chain Improvement Program, jointly funded by the State and Commonwealth governments.

WA Transport Minister Rita Saffioti said the works will bring several benefits to the grains industry and regional communities.

“With WA’s recent run of record-breaking grain harvests, it’s more important than ever to optimise the efficiency of our agricultural freight transport supply chains to manage the increase in product,” Ms Saffioti said.

“As well as an economic boost, the ability to transport more grain by rail will improve community safety and decrease environmental emissions and road maintenance, by reducing the need for road freight.”

To complement the government funding and further improve grain-handling and loading, CBH will also invest in rapid loading bins and elevators at all rail siding-upgrade sites.

These include Broomehill, which will be the next to begin construction in March, followed by Moora and Cranbrook.

The seven remaining sites of Avon (Meenaar), Kellerberrin, Dowerin, Konnongorring, Ballidu, Mingenew and Perenjori North are expected to break ground during 2024.

CBH Group chief executive officer Ben Macnamara said the commencement of construction at the Brookton site was a significant step forward in the development of critical supply chain and infrastructure improvements for the WA grains industry.

“We are delighted to start construction on the Brookton rail siding extension, a milestone for the suite of ASCI projects we are working on with the State and Federal Governments,” Mr Macnamara said.

“We are very pleased to see the funding commitment by State and Federal Governments into transport infrastructure which will enable Western Australian agricultural products to reach export markets more efficiently.”

“Two record harvests in a row highlights the need to continually improve the network to ensure we can move more tonnes to port to meet market demand.”

WA Agriculture and Food Minister Jackie Jarvis said there was a now a greater need than ever before for investment into projects that will contribute to future productivity.

“The Brookton rail siding extension, combined with CBH’s new rapid loading infrastructure, will maximise value for WA growers, getting more tonnes to port and meeting the international demand for our grain to capture early shipping price premiums,” Ms Jarvis said.

“In recent years, we’ve seen record-breaking grain harvests, and while our supply chains have stood up to the huge level of demand, we need to keep investing in projects that will support greater capacity in the future.”

ASCI Package 1 funds focus on freight rail upgrades in the Wheatbelt, Mid-West, Great Southern and Goldfields-Esperance regions.

In addition to allocating $68M for 11 rail siding upgrades, $60M has been allocated to upgrade the main Midland Rail Line between Carnamah and Mingenew, and $72M for investigation and recommissioning of rail lines in the Narrogin-Wickepin-Kulin area.

Source: WA Government


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