Labor puts Murray Basin Rail on the back-burner

5 June 2015

As weeks turn into months without any sign of a business case, it is becoming clear that the Andrews Labor Government is in no hurry to complete the vital Murray Basin Rail Project.

Leader of The Nationals and Shadow Minister for Agriculture Peter Walsh said farmers and rural communities remained in the dark about which lines would be standardised as part of the freight rail project.

When the State Budget was handed down on 5 May, Labor’s Agriculture Minister Jaala Pulford told the ABC that “the business case will be released within weeks” while her media release at the time said it was “expected to occur in coming months”.

Mr Walsh said it was time Ms Pulford and the Andrews Labor Government came clean and told Victorians their plans for the rail project.

“The business case for the Murray Basin Rail Project was well and truly underway last year and there’s no reason it should not have been finished by now,” Mr Walsh said.

“This project will transform Victoria’s freight rail network and will allow farmers to get their produce to port more quickly and cheaply, meaning more dollars in their pockets.

“Anything less than a totally standardised rail network that provides farmers with access to ports at Geelong, Portland and Melbourne would be second-rate.

“The last thing we want to see is the Andrews Labor Government deliver a ‘near enough’ standardisation that is dragged out for years.

“The government must come clean and explain to farmers, the freight industry and regional communities exactly what it plans to deliver.” 

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