NSW Farmers calls for faster food transport 

NSW Farmers has welcomed the state Government’s exploration of a fast rail network in regional NSW, but has reiterated calls for a solid commitment to improving regional freight networks.  

The centrepiece of this commitment would be to guarantee a reliable sub-three hour journey between Orange and the proposed Western Sydney Airport. 

NSW Farmers Vice President Chris Groves said this will facilitate the creation of a high-value air-freighted premium food export market for NSW farmers, and reduce the cost of fresh food for Sydney consumers.   

“The NSW Farmers’ Association welcomes the exploration of faster regional passenger rail services, particularly between the Central West and Sydney,” Mr Groves said.

“However, we hope that the Government will also announce its commitment to improved regional freight connections, including a commitment to a sub-three hour journey between Orange and the Western Sydney Airport.” 

“A freight journey between Orange and Western Sydney, which is just over 200km, can take over four hours, by contrast a 300km journey between Sydney and Canberra takes just over three hours. This is unacceptable.” 

The majority of Sydney’s fresh food comes from across the Great Dividing Range, and freight costs can account for 30-40% of the final cost of fresh food. Better freight connections between the Central West and Sydney will bring down the cost of fresh food for Sydney residents, and provide new export opportunities for farmers, particularly with the construction of the Western Sydney Airport. 

“We are needlessly losing 20% of the final price of fresh food to bloated freight and logistics costs. This should be going into the pockets of consumers and farmers. The inefficient state of our regional freight networks is costing farmers and consumers. ” 

“For example, reliable and fast freight connections between the Central West and Western Sydney Airport’s agri-precinct would allow premium cuts of beef grown near Mudgee or cherries grown near Orange to be packed and put on Chinese consumers’ plates within 48 hours for a premium price.” 

“In August, the NSW Farmers called on the NSW Government to set aside $2.5 million to facilitate activities that would achieve the sub-three hour journey between the Central West and Western Sydney. We hope that funding from the Snowy Hydro Fund will also be allocated to explore freight connectivity over the Great Dividing Range.”

“Better freight connections are critical to ensuring the economic future of regional and rural communities.”

Date: Thursday 6 December 2018
Media Contact:   Michael Burt  | 0428 228 988