The Alliance of Councils for Rail Freight Development, Chair, Cr Mark Byatt and Deputy Chair, Cr Geoff White met with the Hon Terry Mulder MLC Minister for Public Transport & Roads and the Hon. David Hodgett MP, Minister for Major Projects, Manufacturing and Ports at Parliament House last week.
The Alliance has responded to a number of State Government reports over the last 6 months and welcomed the opportunity to discuss them. Cr Byatt has recently been endorsed by the membership as Chair; one of the first tasks he has set himself was to meet with the current relevant Ministers.
The most recent submission was in response to the Victorian Freight and Logistics Plan. The Plan identifies the freight task in Victoria to 2050, “Our concern is the lack of an investment plan to support the projects identified, we will monitor the forthcoming State Budget”, Cr Byatt said.
Currently containers delivered by Rail to Port are required to be transferred to trucks inside the facility and then moved to ship side for loading. “This inefficiency and additional cost has been a concern voiced by our members for some time, a view shared by Minister Hodgett and something he is working through. We will continue to liaise with Minister Hodgett and his office to monitor progress”, Cr Byatt said.
Cr Byatt stated that, “2014 will be a busy for the Alliance and I am fortunate to have Cr Geoff White working with me as Deputy Chair for my term as Chair.
We are currently conducting a policy review and will share our position with both sides of government for response, in the first half of 2014.
Late 2014 the Alliance will hold a major conference, anyone interested in Rail is welcome to attend.
We have a State Government Election in November and a Federal Government that is assessing Rail as one of the solutions to Australia’s Economic Prosperity. The Alliance will continue to put the case for Rail Freight to Government”.