Premier Daniel Andrews joined Minister for Public Transport, Jacinta Allan, and Minister for Regional Development, Jaala Pulford, in Mildura today to announce that the Labor Government will start work on the Murray Basin Rail Project.
$30 million will be provided for Stage 1 of the project with $5 million fast-tracked into this financial year to conduct pre-construction safety and maintenance works.
The project will standardise rail freight services in Northern Victoria and allow larger trains to carry more product with each trip.
This increases the capacity and reliability of the Mildura rail line and makes rail freight more cost-effective, supporting primary producers and businesses across northern Victoria.
The previous Coalition Government neglected regional rail. As a result, the deteriorating network is increasing the cost of business for producers, with trains on the Mildura rail line slowing to a crawl to avoid derailing.
Fixing the rail line will make the rail freight network safer and more efficient, help our export industries stay competitive and support producers, families and communities in northern Victoria.
The business case is currently being finalised and will provide options for how best to progress the next stages of the project.
Around 3.5 million tonnes of grain is produced in the region every year, worth $2 billion to Victoria in export value. Mineral sands and intermodal containers are also exported at a value of $1 billion and $500 million respectively.
Quotes attributable to Premier of Victoria, Daniel Andrews
“The Coalition let our regional freight network deteriorate and it’s costing producers time and money.”
“This rail line is in a state of utter disrepair, with trains slowing to a crawl just so they don’t derail.”
Quotes attributable to Minister for Public Transport, Jacinta Allan
“By fixing this ramshackle rail line, we’re helping some of our biggest industries stay competitive.”
Quotes attributable to Minister for Regional Development, Jaala Pulford
“The Labor Government is getting straight to work, supporting jobs and growth in regional Victoria.”