26 February 2015
Murray Basin Rail Project
I would like to inform your readers about the Andrews Government’s recent announcement in relation to funding of the Murray Basin Rail Project.
The Victorian Coalition Government announced up to $220 million for the Murray Basin Rail Project in last year’s State Budget, which included $11 million for the 2014–15 year and $35 million for 2015–16 with ongoing funding from there on.
The money was to come from the sale of Rural Finance, the proceeds of which were intended to be used specifically for regional infrastructure projects.
The Murray Basin rail project was allocated $220 million.
I have been a strong advocate for the standardisation of rail lines for freight from Mildura to the ports of Portland, Geelong and Melbourne, and I see this as a key infrastructure project to support our farming communities right across the State, particularly in the west and north-west.
With over $3 billion worth of food products and mineral resources exported from the Murray Basin each year, the Coalition made this vital investment to upgrade the freight rail network in regional Victoria.
However, it concerns me that there has been silence regarding this project for months and Labor has only recently announced a token $30 million allocation for the first stage, which is money already allocated in the Coalition Government’s last Budget.
I call on the Andrews Government to commit the full $220 million for the complete standardisation of rail freight tracks from Mildura to Victoria’s ports so farmers can take the opportunity of moving their produce efficiently on standardised tracks.
Simon Ramsay MP