Farmers drive Tier 3 protest

WAFarmers president Dale Park with Torbay farmer Matthew Swainston before the demonstration.

Farmers drove a convoy of trucks through Perth on Tuesday to demonstrate their opposition to the closure of Tier 3 rail lines the previous day.

The rally, led by WAFarmers president Dale Park and Wheatbelt Railway Retention Alliance chairman Greg Richards, aimed to show what extra traffic Perth motorists could expect after the lines were closed on Monday, and called on the State Government and Brookfield Rail, which leased the lines, to reopen them.

Mr Richards said the groups requested the lines be reopened to allow for delivery of last season's record grain harvest, pending the results of an investigation by the Economic Regulation Authority and a Parliamentary inquiry into the management of WA's freight rail network.

Torbay farmer Matthew Swainston was behind the wheel of one of the 10 trucks and said the protest "sent a clear message to the Government that we do not approve of the lines being closed".

"Big railway business is a complex issue - it is not as simple as it seems and is a mess," he said. "All parties involved need to take a step back and consider what is best for the grain industry of WA.

"The time has come for the agriculture industry to start standing up for itself."

Mr Swainston said the increased traffic would cause road damage.

"It is an absolute no-brainer that bulk commodities like grain need to be kept on rail," he said.

"It is cheaper and there is no damage to roads because a train takes 3000 tonnes and you need 60 road trains to do that … that is a significant amount of traffic."