Paul Brown helps push for rural railway inquiry

SA Best Paul Brown.

SA Best Paul Brown.

SA Best will launch an inquiry into why South Australia’s regional and rural rail lines have been left to go to ruin if it wins the balance of power at the March 17 election.

SA Best candidate for Schubert, Paul Brown is “dismayed” to learn that hundreds of kilometers of tracks in the regions have been left to go to rack and ruin instead of being maintained to a standard where they could be quickly used.

Mr Brown said the resurgence of rural rail was critical to rural residents who needed to travel to Adelaide for a host of reasons, including medical appointments and medical treatment, and students who needed access to city-based educational facilities and entertainment.

“Many regional South Australians are totally isolated because they can’t travel to the city by car. Even limited rural rail transport services would be a hundred-percent better than what they have presently,” he said.

Mr Brown, the former Australian Tourism Export Council in SA chairman, said many unique tourism destinations in rural SA also suffered because of a lack of reliable rail-transport links.

“The Barossa Valley is an indisputable gem in the firmament of SA tourism and we have announced we will commit $300,000 over three years to fund a full-time events coordinator for the Barossa Valley,” he said.

“The Barossa currently has the only potentially-viable rail line running through it, and our three-year commitment to improving Barossa tourism would benefit greatly by getting a Barossa wine train up and running again.

The Barossa Line is still technically owned by the state government, however, since 1997, they have been leased to Genesee Wyoming Australia (GWA), a subsidiary of an American railroad company.