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Australian Government commits $28.1 million to Eastern Goldfields railway projects.



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MEDIA RELEASE The Hon Mark Vaile MP Deputy Prime Minister Minister for Transport and Regional Services Leader of the Nationals

16 May 2007 076MV/2007

AUSTRALIAN GOVERNMENT COMMITS $28.1 MILLION TO EASTERN GOLDFIELDS RAILWAY PROJECTS

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Transport and Regional Services, Mark Vaile, today announced that the Australian Government has approved $28.1 million of AusLink funds for major works on the national rail network between Perth and Kalgoorlie.

"These projects are important to ensure the continued growth of rail on the east-west corridor which now sees a healthy 80% of land transport market share being carried by rail. The investment by the Australian Government in key rail links improving operational capacity, reliability and transit time, including where the Brisbane to Melbourne north-south meets the east-west corridor, will contribute to the efficiencies being achieved on the east-west corridor," Mr Vaile said.

The total cost of the two projects is estimated to be over $60 million with the Howard/Vaile Government contributing the largest amount.

"The two major infrastructure projects involve just over $46 million for the re-sleepering of around 76 km of rail track between Koolyanobbing and Kalgoorlie and nearly $14 million for the extension of six passing loops between Kewdale and Kalgoorlie," Mr Vaile said.

"I am pleased that the private sector and the state government are contributing the remainder of the funds required for this important project which will assist in upgrading the AusLink national network," Mr Vaile said.

Mr Vaile said that the new works highlighted the significant benefits that will accrue from the passing loops project including the improved number of passing opportunities for trains using the network and allowing longer (1800m) trains to run more consistently on the standard gauge track.

"Re-sleepering will also lead to improved train travel speeds of up to 115km/h," Mr Vaile said.

Mr Vaile said both of the projects would improve interstate track capacity and efficiency of freight train movements with flow-on benefits for the more reliable operation of the Prospector and Indian Pacific passenger services. The Eastern Goldfields Railway runs from Kalgoorlie to Perth and forms part of the AusLink network on the Perth to Adelaide corridor. The line is owned by the Western Australian Government and is leased to WestNet Rail Pty Ltd.

"The Coalition Government, through AusLink and the Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC), is

spending over $2.4 billion on rail from 2004-05 to 2008-09, which represents the largest single investment in rail freight in Australian history. It is only due to the strong economic management of the current Government that we are in a position to be able to invest so heavily in our railways and bring them into the 21st century", Mr Vaile said.

Mr Vaile said construction was expected to start after September this year and take 12 months to complete.

Media Contacts

Tim Langmead ( Mr Vaile's Office ) 02 6277 7680 / 0421 584 990