Thursday, 14 April 2016
MEMBER for Western Victoria Simon Ramsay has called on the State Government to increase freight productivity on the fully funded Murray Basin Rail Project.
Speaking in parliament, Mr Ramsay said Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s announcement of $220 million for the project meant the Andrews Government could afford to give $100 million to increase axle loading.
“Given the Federal Government’s contribution, now is the time for the Andrews Government to double the freight line’s productivity by providing $100 million to allow an axle loading increase from 21 tonnes to 23 tonnes,” he said.
“This would enable access to the Transcontinental line, accommodating future needs and the growing movement of freight in regional Victoria.
“Given the Andrews Government has not had one regional Victorian infrastructure project approved by Infrastructure Victoria, let alone Infrastructure Australia, this action could be one of the first investments the Andrews Government would make in regional Victoria using its own money.
“While the Murray Basin rail freight project is now fully funded and paid for by both state and federal coalition governments, the Andrews Government has not put one cent into the project.
“The Napthine Government had already committed $216 million from the sale proceeds of Rural Finance, as well as a further $200 million for projects in regional Victoria.
“On top of that, we now have a commitment, already broken by Labor, I might add, that regional Victoria would receive 10 per cent of the net proceeds from the sale of the lease of the Port of Melbourne for transport infrastructure projects — so Gavin Jennings told us, but State Treasurer Tim Pallas is telling us something else.
“The government needs to act and add value to the Murray Basin rail freight project by increasing the axle loading infrastructure and finishing the rail track direct to the Geelong port.”