Rail Freight Alliance Chair, Councillor Mark Byatt welcomed the Murray Basin Rail Project announcement by Premier Andrews. “The Premier’s commitment to build a fully networked solution for the Murray Basin Region has been the Alliance’s policy position and advocacy focus with both State and Federal governments”, Cr Byatt said.
Municipalities along the line have welcomed the news. Cr Glen Milne, Mayor of the Rural City of Mildura said, “This is such a vital investment for Western Victoria.” Mildura Rural City Council, together with the municipalities of Yarriambiack, Buloke, Northern Grampians and Central Goldfield Shires had lead several delegations to Spring Street to stress the importance of this project to the region.
The investment is very closely aligned with the Rail Freight Alliance Position Paper, with the exception of a 21 tonne axle loading on the Mildura Line and dual gauging from Ballarat to Gheringhap near Geelong.
Cr Byatt went on to say “the Rail Freight Alliance looks forward to the start of this important infrastructure project for rural and regional Victoria”, with major works scheduled to commence in late 2016.
The Premier’s announcement that his government was fully committed to its completion before the end of 2018, infers the project will be completed within this term of government, this is a significant announcement.
Deputy Chair of the Rail Freight Alliance, Cr Geoff White said, “The very reason for the formation of the Rail Freight Alliance in 1997 was to advocate for the Western Victorian Standardisation project. This is a major announcement and will have long lasting economic, social and environmental benefits for Victoria.”
“Supply Chain Costs have a significant effect on returns to business in our regions, an efficient and competitive rail freight system will have enduring benefits to a large part of rural and regional Victoria. This is a major commitment and investment by the Andrews government, and we express our praise to the State Government for their backing of this vital infrastructure development for regional Victoria,” Cr Byatt said.