Labor commits to Tier 3

Rueben HaleThe West Australian

WA Labor plans to take a "use it or lose it" rail policy to the next election.

Shadow transport minister Ken Travers said the next move for Labor would be to look at options for the compulsory acquisition of mothballed Tier 3 railway lines if a deal could not be reached before they take office at the next election.

Railway operator Brookfield closed all Tier 3 lines on June 30 last year, leaving many Wheatbelt growers with no other option than to cart their grain to port on crumbling and unsafe roads.

"If the State Government continues to be negligent in protecting the State's interests on this issue, as outlined in numerous parliamentary reports and the Auditor-General's report, I will ensure Labor has a strong and clear policy at the next election, leaving voters with absolutely no doubt what we will do when I am Transport Minister," Mr Travers said.

But Mr Travers also said, for the wellbeing of the State and its grain growers, he hoped an agreement could be achieved before the next election.

"The predicament the State finds itself in over rail is because of what has recently been revealed as a secret variation made to the 49-year lease between the State Government and Brookfield," he said.

"The grain railway access issue should never have been just left up to Brookfield and CBH to resolve them. The State Government should be at the table, as well leading the negotiations, and fix the blunder made by former coalition transport ministers."

Mr Travers said Labor was prepared to consider existing legislation governing the lease or even introducing a specific Act in Parliament to require the lines.

"We will have to pay for the mistakes of the previous Liberal-National Government but we don't expect the cost to be too high to fix their blunders," he said.

"But having said that, we are committed to determining what would be a fair level of compensation to Brookfield and that figure would need to be debated."

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