October 20, 2008


Australian Government's plan to rebuild NSW grain transport system


A taskforce has been appointed to look for ways to rebuild an ailing grain transport system in Australia's New South Wales state and will begin work later this month, announced government ministers on Monday, 13 October 2008.


The review will be headed by former deputy chair of the National Transport Commission, Des Powell, and involve experts from grower groups, bulk grain handlers, marketers, local government, rail and track businesses and labor unions.


It is expected to report by May 2009, according to a statement issued by Transport and Infrastructure Minister Anthony Albanese and Agriculture Minister Tony Burke.


The government has set aside A$3 million (US$2.11 million) to fund the taskforce to come up with ideas to get grain exports back on track in New South Wales.


On average, the state, which accounts for one third of national grain production, produces almost 10 million tonnes of summer and winter grains, mostly wheat, a high proportion of which is transported to domestic customers and to export terminals on rail.


The review will examine cropping patterns, densities, innovations and the likely impact of climate change; market demand for grain and the impact of regulatory reform; and capacity of supply chain infrastructure and the various transport options in the short-, medium- and long-term.


Grain marketers and exporters say the efficiency of the domestic transport system is a key factor affecting the competitiveness of Australian grain on global markets.


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