Mr GRIMLEY (Western Victoria) (12:10): My question is to the minister representing the Minister for Transport Infrastructure. The Murray Basin rail project business case has been an ongoing issue, with the federal and state governments each pushing the other to release the document and the continued politicisation of the project’s funding. Last week the Victorian Farmers Federation published in a media release that: Until we see the full revised business case for the Murray Basin Rail Project and have an understanding of the plan to deliver the project as promised, we cannot support this. The media release goes on to state that: A fit-for-purpose rail freight network must provide an opportunity for competition amongst train providers, storage facilities, access to all ports and access to the national rail network. My question to the minister is: will the government release the full revised business case so farmers and stakeholders can give their informed feedback?
Mr GRIMLEY (Western Victoria) (12:11): Thank you, Minister. At some point between 2018 and this year the real costs of standardising the whole network have become apparent and it is now simply too expensive to complete. Farmers and other stakeholders are obviously disappointed that something from the original plan back in 2014 is still not completed and, more frustratingly, has now seemingly been abandoned. My supplementary question is: what will be the financial and logistical impact on farmers of no longer committing to standardising the gauge of the whole network, and can the government explain exactly why this was dropped from the new business case?