The first stage of the Regional Development Australia Limestone Coast strategic transport infrastructure study is now underway.
Focusing on the region’s road freight network and reinvigoration of the rail corridors, the study will outline where investment in the transport network can unlock productivity gains through efficiencies and what role rail might play in this.
The project will map the supply chains and estimate road and rail transport costs for our local commodities such as timber, wood chips, dairy products, livestock and crops.
Delivered by the CSIRO, it will assess whether reinstating the rail lines from Mount Gambier to Heywood and Mount Gambier to Wolseley will reduce freight costs and save wear on local roads.
“The data gathered from this study will provide an analysis of total and per tonne transport cost (and potential savings) by commodity and mode of transport, including rail, said RDALC chair Peter Gandolfi.
“It will also highlight what’s known as ‘pinch points’ which are areas where roads or bridges could benefit from an upgrade to allow for more efficient transport options on particular routes.
“This information will then guide decision makers and funding bodies to address critical areas that need upgrades.
“With local agricultural products travelling vast distances from farm gate to end market, we are talking about real savings for local producers if we reduce the per cent of farm gate value taken up by transport costs,” said Dr Elizabeth Perkins, manager for investment attraction and infrastructure.
“The data gained from this study will provide huge benefits to local producers, local, state and federal government.
“It will also identify prospects in our economy where new markets can be developed based on increased transport efficiencies.”
In coming months RDALC and CSIRO researchers will be working with stakeholders to gather data on the freight and transport task and feeding that information into the model.
The study will take around six months to complete. Further information can be found on the website www.rdalc.org.au