Premier of Victoria
Wednesday, 16 July 2014
Industry stakeholders are being asked for their views on network options for the transformational Murray Basin Rail Project, Deputy Premier Peter Ryan announced today.
The project will standardise rail from Mildura to Geelong, transforming the way freight is transported in the western half of Victoria; saving farmers and businesses on transport costs and taking thousands of trucks off the road.
Following the release of the Murray Basin Future Freight Demand and Infrastructure Requirements Study, the Department of Transport, Planning and Local Infrastructure is seeking stakeholder views on the project options and alignments detailed in the report.
Speaking in Mildura today with The Nationals Member for Mildura Peter Crisp, Mr Ryan said consultation would begin immediately.
“This project has been more than a century in the making and I’m glad to mark the first real step in getting this historic project underway,” Mr Ryan said.
“The Victorian Coalition Government committed up to $220 million from this year’s budget to get this project done – the money is in the budget and we’re raring to go.
“The views of stakeholders will be fed into the Murray Basin Rail Project’s business case, which is due at the end of the year.”
Mr Crisp welcomed the news.
“The project will build and upgrade freight lines on the network to 21 tonne per axle loading, which means trains will be able to haul an extra 300-400 tonnes or 15 per cent more weight,” Mr Crisp said.
“This means about 10 trucks will be taken off the road for each train trip.
“Victorian produce will get to Portland, Geelong and Melbourne more directly and more cheaply. Keeping transport costs down is essential for Mildura farmers and businesses aiming to export produce onto the world market.
“Ultimately, this project will enable a Transcontinental Rail Link between Mildura and Broken Hill, NSW, connecting to the Perth interstate rail line.
“The first stage of the Project will include an initial $40 million to upgrade the Hopetoun and Mildura rail lines to ensure quick benefits from better freight movement.”
The final alignment of the Murray Basin Rail Project will be guided by the business case.
The Murray Basin Future Freight Demand and Infrastructure Requirements Study is available at www.dtpli.vic.gov.au/freight