Esperance and Kalgoorlie-Boulder included in $1.4B Investment
Four of WA’s key regional centres have been identified to share in a recommended $1.4 billion of investment as part of the National Farmers Federation’s ambitious blueprint for Australia-wide regional renewal. Merredin, Greater Geraldton, Kalgoorlie-Boulder and Esperance were included in the NFF’s new Regional Development Precincts proposal, aimed at ensuring Australian agriculture becomes a $100b industry by 2030.
The proposal outlines the policy interventions required by all levels of government to ensure economic and employment opportunities are unlocked in regional hubs across the country. It has put the onus on National Cabinet to establish a government-led strategy and framework.
Esperance was chosen for its access to national and international markets via airports and seaports, which the NFF said was “critical to the success of surrounding regions”. “There are many challenges facing Esperance and surrounding regions to meet their full economic potential, requiring government intervention,” the proposal said. “As a centre for a large and sparsely populated region, the quality of freight networks is a critical challenge, noting the dominance of industries that trade in physical goods.”
Kalgoorlie-Boulder, was chosen for its role in supporting and servicing the region’s mining and agricultural sectors. “It provides a strategic inland focus, with access to ports and airport infrastructure and good east-west land freight connectivity” the proposal said.
Rail upgrades speed nickel freight for EV transition
Upgrades on the Leonora freight line have taken another step as demand for nickel transported on the network continues to grow. Arc Infrastructure recently completed the $5 million seventh stage of an eight-step $56 million upgrade to the 260km Leonora Branch Line (LBL)between the northern Goldfields outpost and Kalgoorlie-Boulder, which is due to be completed next year.
The LBL is seen as a critical part of the freight network in part because of its use to transport nickel, which is in demand as the world shifts towards electric vehicles, which use nickel batteries. Arc said the upgrades of the LBL builds on the company’s recent investment in the Goldfields region, which earlier this year saw the opening of the Hampton Intermodal Terminal to support the BHP Nickel west transport task.
The completion of the stage seven works – which saw 17.4km of track upgraded between Myamin and Menzies, as well as Doney and Goongarrie – will bring train journey times on this part of the network down by 10 minutes, according to the company. The LBL is a standard gauge link to the Eastern Goldfields Railway and Esperance Branch Line.
CREDIT – Tom Robinson (Kalgoorlie Miner)