Rex Patrick pushes for Iron Road support

QUESTIONS: Centre Alliance senator Rex Patrick has brought up questions to Infrastructure Australia about the Central Eyre Iron Project.
QUESTIONS: Centre Alliance senator Rex Patrick has brought up questions to Infrastructure Australia about the Central Eyre Iron Project.

Centre Alliance senator Rex Patrick has called for the Commonwealth government to look at options to get the Central Eyre Iron Project up and running.

The senator brought the status of Iron Road's project at the estimates hearing for the Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport Legislation Committee on February 18.

Mr Patrick said the project was listed by Infrastructure Australia as a project of national significance yet there had not been any real government assistance.

"One would think people would be knocking on their door asking 'what do you need to get this thing moving along?'," he said.

"Infrastructure Australia, the organisation which nominates these projects has sat on their hands and done nothing."

At the hearing Infrastructure Australia acting chief executive Anna Chau said the project was recognised as a nationally significant opportunity.

She said having the project on the list was advice to various levels of government, and the private sector that it had investment merit.

Iron Road recently announced it had revised the project's development strategy to reduce capital expenditure from about AUS$5.7 billion to about AUS$2.42 billion.

This has included a reduced production target from 24 million tonnes per annum in iron concentrate to 12 million and replacing the planned heavy haulage rail with high capacity dual-powered road trains operating on a private haul road.

Iron Road principal advisor stakeholder engagement Tim Scholz said it was great to see Mr Patrick's push for government assistance at the federal level.

He said the project had greater significance, given its Cape Hardy port element, now it had been confirmed the Eyre Peninsula Rail Network would not be used for hauling grain after May 31.

"It's good to see that support at Commonwealth level from an SA senator and it's more important given the closure of the rail," Mr Scholz said.