Funding welcomed, but blueprint needed

Apr 05, 2019

Grain Producers SA has welcomed today’s announcement by the State Government that it will allocate $25.6 million to upgrading roads on the lower Eyre Peninsula, following the release of the Eyre Peninsula Freight Study.

The funding is part of a broader $100m package from the Federal Government to upgrade the South Australian section of the Port Augusta to Perth corridor.

The Eyre Peninsula road upgrades could include overtaking lanes, road widening and shoulder sealing as well as road safety improvements.

GPSA chief executive officer Caroline Rhodes said the organisation strongly supported the funding allocation, particularly following the announcement by Viterra in February that it would be transitioning to road-only transport of grain.

However, she reiterated GPSA’s call for a state-wide infrastructure blueprint for the grain industry.

“On behalf of GPSA, I thank Minister for Transport Stephan Knoll MP for a swift response following Viterra’s decision on Eyre Peninsula grain transport earlier this year,” she said.

“I would also like to thank Member for Flinders Peter Treloar MP for working with GPSA on this issue.

“While this funding package is great news for growers on the Eyre Peninsula, GPSA believes a state-wide infrastructure blueprint for the grain industry is necessary to enable long-term planning and better targeted government funding.

“This will improve export pathways and ensure growers across the state continue to have access to the largest possible range of markets across the world for their grain.

“This project has become increasingly urgent following Viterra’s decision regarding grain transport on the EP.

“While we believe it is critical both growers and government understand the impact of the potential closure of rail services and the capacity to manage additional road movements in the future, long-term infrastructure planning must extend to the entire state.”

Ms Rhodes said a blueprint would help South Australian growers remain globally competitive.

“SA has an excellent reputation for providing clean, premium agricultural products and working closely with trading partners to ensure their needs are met,” she said.

“For this reason, grain supply chains and enabling infrastructure must be designed to meet both customer demand and market access requirements which may change according to seasonal conditions and international trade dynamics.”

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