Member for Cootamundra Steph Cooke has announced a major upgrade to a regional rail siding and new state-of-the-art GrainCorp loading facilities at Barellan which will deliver a significant boost for Riverina grain producers.

Ms Cooke said the NSW Government contributed up to $1.5 million through the Fixing Country Rail program towards the $7 million upgrade of siding and loading facilities between Griffith and Temora.

“Across NSW, Fixing Country Rail is a $400 million Restart NSW program bringing real benefits to regional NSW,” Ms Cooke said.

“The Fixing Country Rail program has supported upgrades to important sidings throughout NSW, providing significant benefits to grain growers in regional areas.

“In simple terms, this investment is saving producers around $5 a tonne in transport and loading costs while also unlocking private sector complementary investment.

“Surrounding communities also benefit through a reduction in heavy vehicle movements, improved safety and reduced road wear and tear.”

The siding has been upgraded and extended 522 metres to cater for longer and more efficient trains.

GrainCorp General Manager of Operations Nigel Lotz said: “The Riverina region is one of the most reliable grain growing regions in the country and we are excited to be revealing this upgrade ahead of harvest.”

The Barellan upgrade supports grain loading of up to 1000 tonnes per hour. Recent figures show there is about 3.9 million tonnes of grain produced in the Riverina.

Freight is worth $66 billion to the NSW economy, and the NSW Government is committed to improving freight connectivity along key routes. The Riverina grain industry exports 74 per cent of its production, mainly wheat, barley and canola.

Fixing Country Rail provides targeted infrastructure funding from Restart NSW for projects which improve freight connectivity on the regional rail network.

To date the NSW Government has invested $153 million in 23 projects, including funding to 13 projects in Round 1 with an additional $15 million of Transport for NSW funding for a further 10 projects.

For more information please visit www.transport.nsw.gov.au and search ‘Fixing Country Rail’.