The Victorian Farmers Federation (VFF) welcomes the Federal Government’s commitment to partly fund the stalled Murray Basin Rail Project and is calling for the Victorian Government to the match the $5 million dollar planning commitment to ensure the project delivers a standardised network.
VFF Grains Group President Ashley Fraser said the announcement is a positive step forward towards ensuring the state’s outdated regional freight rail infrastructure is upgraded and standardised.“
It is crucial that Victorian farmers and the agriculture industry have the means to efficiently and affordably transport their produce from paddock to port and market.”“
As long as we continue to operate on two separate rail gauges in Victoria, farmers and industry will continue to bear the costs of an outdated and inefficient network.”
“The Victorian Government must simply now come to the table and match the Federal Government’s $5 million dollar planning commitment for the standardisation of the network.”
“The Sea Lake and Manangatang lines must be converted to standard gauge as originally promised, we can’t accept anything less and have been waiting far too long,” Mr Fraser said.
Mr Fraser said transparency is needed on the future of the project and a hard deadline as to when it would be completed.“
We need visibility on the assessment of the entire project as well as a timeframe for its full completion.”
“For a project that’s entering its fifth year, we need to see there’s a finish line in sight.”
“The ball is firmly in the court of the Victorian Government and they need to deliver what was originally promised,” Mr Fraser said.