Statement on Rail Freight Advisory Council

If Public Transport Minister Jacinta Allan is genuinely committed to making Victoria’s freight rail network as ‘efficient and safe as possible’ Labor should fund upgrades of the Portland to Maroona Rail Line.

The Andrews Labor Government announced the appointment of a Rail Freight Advisory Council to advise on rail industry issues this week.

Freight rail is the vital link between Victoria’s producers and ports that send our high quality produce across the world.

But Labor’s decision to leave axle load upgrades to the Portland to Maroona line out of the $440 million Murray Basin Rail Project means the Port of Portland is at a competitive disadvantage to the ports of Geelong and Melbourne.

The business case for Murray Basin Rail says investment in other critically interdependent projects would be required by both the State Government and the private sector to ensure the benefits from the investment in this large project is delivered.

It highlights upgrades of the line to take 21 or 23 tonne axle loads to make consistent with the broader network, as upgraded.

But there has been no mention since of this critically important upgrade that would be beneficial to grain exports and the Port of Portland.

The city-centric Andrews Labor Government is obsessed with looking inwards to Melbourne and regional Victoria is missing out.

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