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Regional Development Australia - Limestone Coast will be undertaking an economic benefit study on re-establishing rail in the region.
The study will be based on the advantages of reinstating rail from Heywood (Victoria) to Wolseley. It will assess the full route and the viability of segments, such as Mount Gambier to Heywood with an intermodal on the eastern outskirts of Mount Gambier.
Chair Peter Gandolfi said the resurrection of rail may prove to be an enabling action to boost the local economy by increasing productivity and lowering freight costs.
“One of the major drivers behind this move is the current limitations that transport imposes on our productivity,” said Mr Gandolfi. “The costs associated with transporting goods accounts for 21 per cent of all production costs in our region. If we are serious about achieving greater economic growth for the Limestone Coast we need to explore more efficient means of transport.
“RDALC recognises that re-establishing rail is not a new discussion for our region. But given the increased volumes of freight being moved along our roads it’s timely to revisit the possibility of reinstating rail in the region.”
In coming months, the RDALC will be meeting with stakeholders to discuss the opportunities that could be realised through the reinstatement of rail services.
“We are keen to get a more accurate understanding of the costs businesses are experiencing with their freight and build a clear picture of the situation at this present time,” said Dr Elizabeth Perkins, manager of investment attraction and infrastructure.
“As part of the feasibility study we will be seeking input from local businesses to help build this picture and will be contacting them directly for input.”
With freight costs being the main impetus for the study, the work will involve strategic actions to assess the status quo and viability of rail for the region.
This will include the economic drivers associated with rail, however the potential for passenger transport has not been ruled out and may also be considered as part of the study.
This article first appeared on www.naracoorteherald.com.au
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