Labor cuts more funding from rail freight

The Andrews Labor Government has again taken the razor to the Mode Shift Incentive Scheme (MSIS) which will mean more trucks on crumbling country roads and on suburban streets around the Port of Melbourne.

Minister Melissa Horne snuck out an announcement on Friday evening saying that Labor had extended the program for another year with a $3.6 million investment.

But that’s a 10 per cent cut on last year’s funding of $4 million and adds further to the $3 million the Andrews Labor Government has cut from the program since 2018.

The Mode Shift Incentive Scheme was established by the former Liberal Nationals Government in 2014 and provided $5 million a year to encourage more containerised freight onto rail.

Since 2018 however, Labor has cut $3.4 million of funding from the MSIS.

The Andrews Labor Government says it’s committed to moving more freight by rail and taking trucks off roads, but by continually cutting the MSIS it is doing the opposite.

As more people leave Melbourne after continued lockdowns, our road network is only going to decline further, hampering the liveability of our country centres.

Comments attributable to Shadow Minister for Ports and Freight, Roma Britnell:

“Labor says it’s moving more freight by rail, but in the same breath announces a 10 per cent funding cut for a program that encourages producers to consider trains over trucks.

“Through its continued cuts, Labor is making rail less competitive.

“Less money in the MSIS will mean more trucks on crumbling country roads and on suburban streets around the Port of Melbourne.

“If Labor is serious about rail freight, it wouldn’t be cutting this program and would be funding it long term, not year-on-year, to help freight operators lock in ongoing contracts.”

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