With Victoria expecting the second largest grain harvest in its history, there are deep concerns about how the produce will get to port due to the botched Murray Basin Rail Project and the already crumbling rural roads.
The Victorian Farmers Federation is the latest group to voice its concerns and estimates an extra 10,000 trucks will be on the roads because the condition of the freight rail network means it’s not an effective or efficient way for farmers to move product.
But the Andrews Labor Government isn’t listening – its last budget included not a single dollar for new freight rail projects and road maintenance funding remains unchanged.
Labor’s botched Murray Basin Rail Project remains half done and even then, what has been completed needs to be ripped up and done again because the capacity of the network was decreased. There are also no plans to complete the full standardisation of the network.
This means there will be even more trucks on suburban roads in the inner west, where residents are already complaining about increased truck movements because of the Andrews Government’s snail pace approach to rail freight.
Already crumbling rural roads will also suffer with increased freight movements but Labor is leaving road maintenance funding at the same lacklustre levels, despite significantly increased freight movements.
Comments attributable to Shadow Minister for Ports and Freight, Roma Britnell:
“The community and industry have been screaming out for significant investment in freight networks for years, but the Andrews Labor Government isn’t listening, and it’s Victorian farmers who will pay the price.
“Time is money and if you can’t get produce to market in an efficient manner, already thin margins are further reduced.
“Labor needs to open its ears and start listening to these concerns and then stump up the cash to start addressing the major issues in Victoria’s road and rail freight networks.”