The Victorian Farmers Federation Grains Group is calling on the Victorian Government to provide certainty around the future of the Murray Basin Rail Project; a key rail freight infrastructure project for Victoria.
The $440 million project was anticipated to be completed by the end of 2018. However, the project has been plagued by poor workmanship and slow travel times and there is now no firm commitment on a finish date.
“Despite assurances that a new timeline would be released, the Victorian Government has not provided details on when the project will be completed. This is a once in a generation opportunity that we can’t risk getting wrong as a result of poor management,” said Ross Johns, VFF Grains Group President.
The Murray Basin Rail Project is a major upgrade to Victoria’s rail freight network and will facilitate an additional 500,000 tonnes of grain from the Wimmera-Mallee to travel to market each year.
“Going forward, there must be greater oversight by the Minister for Public Transport. It is unacceptable for the Victorian Government to bungle such an important project. An efficient rail network is vital for the Victorian grains industry to remain globally competitive,” said Mr Johns.
“While the VFF do not want to see construction rushed, potentially compromising the quality of the project, farmers and industry need certainty around timelines to inform decisions for harvest and rebuild confidence in the management of the project,” said Mr Johns.
Given the complexity of the planned works, the VFF Grains Group is calling on the State Government to provide a detailed project timeline complete with milestones.
Source: Victorian Farmers Federation