Secret deal a 'disgrace': WRRA

30 Oct, 2014 01:00 AM
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Ian Lane.
If you’re the accountant for a company you can’t be the auditor.
Ian Lane.

NEWS of the secret profit-sharing deal prompted the Wheatbelt Railway Retention Alliance (WRRA) to describe the current situation as a “disgrace” and question whether a corruption inquiry or Royal Commission was needed.

Inaugural WRRA chair and Merredin farmer Ian Lane (pictured), said using the word disgrace was “an understatement”.

“If you’re the accountant for a company you can’t be the auditor,” he said.

“The PTA has a vested interest in returning a profit but is also auditing the standards that are required.

“It’s a joke.”

Mr Lane said many untruths and misrepresentation of people’s positions have been told throughout the grain rail debate by politicians from all sides of politics and their representatives, the PTA and Brookfield.

He said some of CBH’s statements “didn’t quite truly reflect the growers’ views” but the WRRA is the only group that’s been consistently straight-talking.

“I would take the Minister for Transport, whoever is doing the negotiations for CBH, and Paul Larsen (Brookfield Rail CEO) and lock them in a room until they get a deal that’s satisfactory to all,” he said.

“Not just growers but ratepayers who will get hit with charges to cover road repairs and maintenance costs.

“An early figure I’ve seen out of the Shire of Trayning is a rate increase of 30 per cent and that’s everybody – not just the cockie who’s paying the freight bill.”

Colin Bettles

Colin Bettles

is the national political writer for Fairfax Agricultural Media

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