On Friday, expressions of interest for round one of the NSW government’s $400 million Fixing Country Rail program will close. This program represents a major infrastructure investment in our rail network in regional NSW.
This is a once in a generation opportunity to boost productivity, promote connectivity and drive competition to lower supply chain costs for farmers, especially grain growers, throughout NSW.
NSW Farmers is determined to ensure benefits from supply chain improvements are maximised and flow to farmers. We have been working closely with industry to develop an industry-wide strategy to guide investment through this program.
At a workshop in early July, industry representatives agreed on a vision for what the rail network needs to look like and the types of strategic spending priorities that would result in the largest productivity gains and best, most positive impacts on supply chain costs.
NSW Farmers will continue to support all government expenditure and private co-contribution that results in more efficient infrastructure, promotes competition and improves farm gate prices. But we also recognise some investments have a greater positive impact on growers, and, in the past, some benefits have been below expectation. We firmly believe farmers must see benefits if government funds are utilised.
That is why we are developing, together with industry, a vision for the future of the network and taking an economic approach to guide Transport for NSW on the types of priority spends which will accrue the greatest benefit back to farmers, in the short, medium and long term.
NSW Farmers will continue to work with the entire industry to ensure that growers reap the maximum benefit from this investment in our regional rail network.
- By NSW Farmers grain committee chair, Rebecca Reardon.