Jane focuses on Tier 3 fight

Rueben HaleThe West Australian

The familiar face behind Wheatbelt Railway Retention Alliance, Jane Fuchsbichler, has lightened her workload to focus on saving the Tier 3 railway lines.

Mrs Fuchsbichler is a Bruce Rock grain grower and wife of CBH board member Kevin Fuchsbichler.

Last week, Mrs Fuchsbichler told _Countryman _ she had decided to resign as Merredin zone co-ordinator of WAFarmers after 20 years and three months of service.

Hailing from a potato and cattle farm in Staffordshire in the United Kingdom, Mrs Fuchsbichler married and settled in Bruce Rock after meeting future husband Kevin while travelling around Australia on a rural youth farm scholarship.

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Since settling in Bruce Rock, Mrs Fuchsbichler has been an active advocate for the Wheatbelt community, working not only as zone co-ordinator, but also as WAFarmers education executive before becoming a key figure in the fight to keep Tier 3 railway lines open.

"From 2005 to 2010 I worked with Dyslexia-SPELD, which assisted teachers overcome student literacy issue in Wheatbelt schools," she said.

"My role was to initiate and gather funds to assist with the Dyslexia-SPELD Foundation of WA literary programs … in the Wheatbelt.

"The foundation provides professional development days to assist teachers and aides with delivering the program.

"It was difficult in the first 12 months of the program starting because we had to raise funds to pay for accommodation and travel for each assistant's day visit."

Mrs Fuchsbichler said after the State Government released the Strategic Grain Network Report in 2010 the majority of her time was consumed with the fight to keep Tier 3 railway lines open.

"As the Merredin zone co-ordinator, I couldn't ignore how heavily the Tier 3 rail closures impacted on my region," she said.

"I also live on a road that has been voted to have one of eight most dangerous roads in the Wheatbelt.

"All the Shires in the affected Tier 3 areas are now finding the level of allocated road funding coming out of the Strategic Grain Network grossly inadequate, so we formed the alliance to consolidate the efforts of the Shires and lobby groups to fight to keep the lines open."

Mrs Fuchsbichler said since the Wheatbelt Railway Retention Alliance began in 2009, its cause had consolidated support from regional and urban areas.

"The alliance represents more than 100,000 people now with Fremantle and Mundaring on board," she said.

With the release of the Parliamentary report into the "mismanagement" of the State's rail freight network by the State Government, Mrs Fuchsbichler said she had decided to focus her attention wholly on maintaining pressure on the Government to reopen the lines.

"Since the Tier 3 lines closed last year we can now see the very rapid damage to the roads caused by the grain trucks and there is not enough local government money to maintain them properly."

"There is no doubt now that the closures have caused the costs to ship grain for growers to be much higher," she said.

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