Opposition pledge to retain grain rail network

The State Opposition has promised $30 million to keep the Tier Three grain transport rail lines open for another three years, however, supporters of the network say Labor's policy is not a long-term solution.

The Wheatbelt lines had been due to close last year but were extended until at least October after increasing pressure from farming groups to retain them.

The Opposition Leader Mark McGowan says a Labor government would keep the network open for another three years, meaning fewer trucks on WA roads.

"One of the things that has concerned me greatly is the congestion crisis in Perth but also the fact that on country roads, increasingly, people are dying," he said.

"Something has to be done about it, so this is a way of improving both the safety of our roads and also the congestion problems facing Perth.

"We've had extensive discussions with the operators of the line and our expectation, our understanding is $10 million a year will ensure that Tier Three remains open.

"That way we prevent those significant problems, congestion and safety problems that will occur if Tier Three is closed." The Liberals and Nationals are yet to commit funding for network improvements.

Bill Cowan from the Wheatbelt Railway Retention Alliance has welcomed Labor's commitment but says it still does not ensure the network's long-term viability.

"The other part of the solution is to work out between the growers and Brookfields a long-term solution, in that the line remains viable," he said.

The Nationals say Labor's policy is similar to theirs but the party is being more diligent before committing funds.

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