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Britnell - Industry already clear on freight rail priorities

Monday, 24 February 2020

Melissa Horne doesn’t need to establish yet anotherworking group to find out industry’s priorities for rail freight – because the industry has already told her what its priorities are:

1. Labor’s botched Murray Basin Rail must be completed to its original scope.

2. Security for the Mode Shift Incentive Scheme beyond June, to continue encouraging exporters to move more freight on rail from regional Victoria – taking truck movements off our already damaged roads.

3. Finally get the Port Rail Shuttle happening, which has been idle since the Napthine Government funded it in the 2014/15 state budget. This project will connect intermodal freight hubs to rail to move the bulk of goods to and from the Port of Melbourne by train.

4. Greater investment in freight line maintenance, so we don’t have lines “booked out of service” due to inadequate maintenance, like the Rainbow line, forcing even more trucks onto already fragile roads.

5. Upgrade the Portland to Maroona freight line so it can take trains at the same weight and speed as lines connecting to the Ports of Melbourne and Geelong, creating efficiencies for exporters.

Comments attributable to Shadow Minister for Ports and Freight, Roma Britnell:

“This working group is just another delaying tactic by the Andrews Labor Government, the industries priorities for rail freight are very clear, Labor just needs to get on with delivering them.

“Labor botched the Murray Basin Rail Project and left the job half done. While billions of dollars can be found for cost blowouts on projects in Melbourne; regional projects get nothing.

“Labor is all talk about rail freight and this new working group proves that. The industry wants serious action, not more empty promises.”