Member for Western Victoria
Derryn Hinch’s Justice Party

Murray Basin Freight Rail Project Network

Mr GRIMLEY (Western Victoria) (12:52): My question is for the Minister for Transport Infrastructure. The Murray Basin freight rail project is a vital link for freight in Victoria. The Victorian Food and Fibre Export Performance Report 2019–20 shows that Victoria delivered a record $14.5 billion in exports and is well on its way to reach its target of $20 billion by 2030. Freight rail will deliver a number of benefits to constituents in western Victoria, such as taking trucks off our roads and reducing freight rail costs for producers. In a recent interview with the ABC the minister said, and I quote: At a future time, future governments can consider the standardisation of that part of the network … referring to the Sea Lake to Manangatang part of the project. In a press release on 3 September 2019 the minister said, and I quote: … the Suburban Rail Loop is the next step in the future of our transport network. It seems as though the government is prioritising the future of rail in Melbourne over regional Victoria. The government can fund and plan for a project almost 30 years in the future but will not consider upgrades to another project in regional Victoria, which is supported by the federal government, due to changes in the business case. Will the minister commit to the $5 million investment matching the federal funding towards planning for the standardisation of the Murray Basin freight rail project network?


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