Rail town Junee plays a key role in the national economy and Member for Cootamundra Steph Cooke made sure the message went full steam ahead at a rail conference today.

Junee Shire Council brought together key players in the bulk rail freight industry to discuss their roles in the supply chain at a conference partly funded by a $10,000 NSW Government grant.

Ms Cooke said Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack provided a keynote speech highlighting Junee’s important role in the Inland Rail project, followed by presentations from industry representatives.

“It was a fascinating and involving arena which highlighted the strength and potential of bulk rail freight, and I was delighted to have played a part in bringing the event to fruition,” Ms Cooke said.

“Junee Shire Council did a fantastic job organising the event and I congratulate General Manager James Davis on pointing the spotlight firmly towards Junee – this is a hugely important primary production area and getting that produce out to market quickly is a vital part of the supply process.

“We have the best farmers in the world supplying the best produce which needs to get to the consumer as quickly as possible, and rail is unmatched for the rapid transit of bulk goods.

“Of course road freight plays an important role, but for transporting hundreds of tonnes of wheat or liquids, we must look to rail.”

Junee Shire Council General Manager James Davis explained the strategy behind holding the event.

“The driver is trying to encourage more investment into local agriculture,” Mr Davis said.

“The National Farmers Federation wants to see farm gate revenues rise from $60 billion a year to $100 billion a year, and that’s not a wish list: they recognise the domestic and international demand for food and fibre is there.

“That leads straight to the farmer’s home and the farmer’s family, and that’s our community. That’s why Junee Shire Council has invested time and effort in putting on this symposium.”