Ararat Rural City Council throws weight behind freight campaign

Posted Wednesday 24 July, 04:53pm

Ararat Rural City Council is supporting the Rail Freight Alliance Save our Tracks campaign, saying the completion of the Murray Basin Rail Project is a very important project for the region.

Council CEO Dr Tim Harrison said news that part of the project had ceased was concerning, and urged the State and Federal Governments to commit to completing it.

In June, Victorian Transport Infrastructure Minister Jacinta Allan announced the project was out of funds and that she would negotiate further funding with the Federal Government. It has been suggested as part of funding negotiations to complete the project, the Victorian Government standard gauge lines would be leased to the Australian Rail Track Corporation.

Dr Harrison said that with Victorian freight volumes predicted to more than double by 2050, increasing rail freight options is vital.

He said the project had great potential to help agribusiness and manufacturers operating within the municipality to get their product to ports, such as Portland, for export.

The freight network reduces supply chain costs and help grow the municipality’s economic output, and is important for economic growth, job creation and industry growth.

“The cost of moving goods is a substantial component of overall production costs for many industries, accounting for up to 30 per cent,” he said.

“Rail is a cost-effective freight option and Victoria must get the investment right.”

The Ararat to Maryborough line section of the project has been fully funded, but the section that travels through Maroona to Portland was not.