Legislative Council: Wednesday, March 22, 2023


Regional Rail

The Hon. R.A. SIMMS (14:53): Supplementary: has the minister read the other recommendations in the report relating to reactivation of regional rail—not just in Mount Barker?

The Hon. C.M. SCRIVEN (Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development, Minister for Forest Industries) (14:53): There are a number of other regional rail issues which, whilst they are in the purview of the Minister for Transport in the other place, I have been able to be apprised of and have the following advice. One of those of course is in regard to the potential for commercial rail lines to operate successfully on Eyre Peninsula. Our government would be supportive of that, but of course it does need to be commercially viable. We are generally supportive of new rail infrastructure, but would need to look at this proposal and make an assessment on its merits, including the degree of private investment proposed.

To date, I am advised no detailed proposal has been presented to the South Australian government. The previous closure of Viterra's rail network has led both directly and indirectly, of course, to significant investment in port developments, but had other significant impacts as well, perhaps some of those not so positive. The government has spent significant funds improving the local road network to facilitate greater use for freight in response to Viterra's 2019 decision to cease its rail operations in the region. The government will continue to investigate options that can provide better services as we go forward.