NSW Farmers Association, Media Release, 16 March 2022
The state’s peak agriculture body says the federal government’s multi-billion-dollar freight project needs more work to fully benefit agriculture and the regions.
Adrian Lyons, head of the NSW Farmers Inland Rail Taskforce, said new modelling from the CSIRO revealed cost savings were not built in for the state, and more interconnectivity was needed.
“There’s clearly a desire to simply lay a lot of track, but we’re saying we need the right tracks in the right place to actually deliver a benefit,” Mr Lyons said.
“The fact of the matter is that farmers want to get their products to market in an affordable and efficient manner, but without the east-west rail upgrades we’re not certain that Inland Rail will deliver on its promise.
“It’s all well and good for the Federal Government to use this report to claim cost savings, but it’s clear the State Government needs to act to make sure we don’t miss out on opportunities.”
This week the Federal Government released CSIRO modelling that claimed Inland Rail would cut freight transport costs by up to $213 million a year. But with freight bottlenecks right along the state’s east coast, farmers are still trucking their product to port rather than sending it by rail – a situation that could very well continue once Inland Rail is completed.
“The state government has a huge part to play in this, we’ve already got these big freight bottlenecks at our ports that need to be removed,” Mr Lyons said.
“There must be benefit for all farmers in NSW out of this enormous expenditure, and there needs to be proper linkages right the way along the line.
“What we definitely don’t want to see is political expediency to the detriment of our nation.”